My daughter, Paityn, is 9 years old, is in the 4th grade and already is struggling with wondering if she is pretty or not. They will discuss at school what they are going to wear, how they are going to wear their hair and ask if they think it will be pretty. I remember being in the 4th grade and not even caring at that age if my hair looked nice let alone my clothes. I believe we are raising our daughters in a time where image is everything and that is what the world would have them think. She is already asking “When can I wear make-up?” As if that will enhance her beauty. To me she is already a natural beauty and doesn’t need the added worry of make-up at such a young age. I love to watch her look at herself in the mirror and decided to ask her what makes her feel beautiful and what she likes about herself. I loved her answers. She loves her smile. She says it’s unique which is so true. She has a little buck tooth that we tease her about and I am so proud of the fact that that is one of the things that she loves about herself. She recently cut her hair and she loves it. It’s an A-line which means not a lot of pony tails anymore and a lot more flat-iron but she is young enough that it is a great time to have short hair. Shes beautiful inside and out. With that being said she and I wanted to write a post together focusing on young girls and what really matters and what girls her age should think beauty is. Without further ado here is our post.
So Paityn and I have come up with 5 questions that we ask each other and we share our answers. It will be Paityns actual responses and then what I, as a mom, would want Paityn to know is important to remember at such a young age.
Question 1: What does being beautiful mean to you?
Paityn: I think being beautiful is about being yourself and being natural and not having to wear make up. Being happy with who you are makes it ok for you to think that you are beautiful.
Marie: I think that being beautiful is being happy with yourself. Having confidence to accept who you are regardless of your size or how your hair looks or the clothes you wear. Those things do not define your beauty, just as you can not judge a book by its cover someone can not be judged by how they look. Beauty is more than how a person looks. It is also what is on the inside that counts, if only more people could realize this. It is also something that I struggle with. I look at someone and assume that I know all I need to know about them. Not the case. We need to realize that beauty is more then an outward appearance.
Question 2: Just because someone says a mean thing about you, does that make it true?
Paityn: No. People sometimes say things that hurt our feelings but we know that it’s not true. I had a girl in my school who said mean things to me and it hurt my feelings but I knew that they weren’t true. I learned that people say things to make themselves feel better and don’t think about how it will make others feel. I try not say mean things about others because I don’t want to hurt their feelings because I know how that feels.
Marie: No, sometimes people don’t think before they speak or think about what it coming out of their mouths. It doesn’t make what they are saying true but it doesn’t make it any less hurtful either. It has been hard to witness Paityn get teased at school and try to decide what to do. But teaching Paityn that she doesn’t have to believe in the things being said is the most important thing I can teach her in this situation. It is amazing how quickly a childs self-esteem can be damaged, especially by their peers. It is best to teach our children to understand the meaning of words and the damage they can do so that they will treat others with the same degree of respect.
Question 3: Do the clothes you wear make you feel pretty?
Paityn: Yes they do, but I know that I am pretty just the way that I am. Everyone’s style is different and unique, what’s cute to me isn’t going to be cute someone else. But your clothes don’t change who you are they only make it better. It can make me feel better about myself and excited to go to school.
Marie: I definitely love clothes and I am of the opinion that clothes help me feel prettier so my answer is yes. But I don’t think that that makes a person who they are either. People can’t and shouldn’t feel like they have to dress a certain way to fit in, girls should dress any way they choose and be accepted for who they are and their style. It would be a pretty boring world if we all dressed the same, some may think that might be better, but I for one think that is what makes it so fun to be me, is expressing myself through my style of clothing. I do feel prettier by what I wear.
Question 4: What does being unique mean to you?
Paityn: It means you have something special about yourself and you like it and you don’t care what other people think. I have a buck tooth and I love it. I have been told that I have really strong arms and I really love how strong I am. That makes me unique. Being unique is a wonderful thing and every girl should be happy to have something that makes her unique and stand out.
Marie: I love this question. Not that I have an answer but loved discussing it with Paityn. What made it better is that I discuss it with my husband and it put it into perspective for me. Being unique is a good thing. It’s ok. Don’t be scared to stand out. There is nothing wrong with being one of a kind or doing your own thing. Own it!!
Question 5: What would you want girls your age to know?
Paityn: I would want them to know that if they don’t feel pretty that everyone is pretty, to be confident and proud of who you are. It’s not the make up you wear, the clothes you put on, or how you do your hair that makes you who you are. You decide who you are. Be happy with yourself, love yourself, be true to yourself.
Marie: I want Paityn and every girl her age to know that it’s ok to be young and beautiful. The world wants them to grow up so fast but let them be little. Let them enjoy the carefree days of youth where they don’t have to worry about what boys think or what make-up to wear or what size they are. Let them eat ice cream and melt down their faces. Don’t worry about who is watching or judging them. Love to laugh and smile and run and skip and play. These are the best days and they will not last forever. They are beautiful now, natural with no help from cosmetics. Love yourself and be happy. YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL.