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How do we teach confidence without creating vanity?

Posted by on Dec. 28, 2012 at 12:00 AM
  • 52 Replies
1 mom liked this

We've been on holiday vacation, visiting family and, probably daily, my kiddo has heard how cute she is...from friends of my parents to folks at the store to flight attendants. It is just something we say to little kids, right? But what is that teaching her?

It's tough. In some ways, I think being vain is in all of us, and, as I teach my kiddo to be confident, it is a blurry line between being confident and being vain. I want her to believe in herself and think of herself as beautiful in every single way - because she is pretty in her own right...and also because she has a beautiful mind and chooses to be a beautiful and kind friend.

There's no right answer here, folks. We only attempt to do the best we can. (Insert big Mama sigh). It's a tall order. Our kids see images every day about what is the "ideal" form of beauty (how many times have we had the whole Barbie debate or discussed the idea that boys have to be athletic and tall to be "cute"). I love the Dove beauty campaign, what they are trying to do about girls' esteem. They had interesting hints on teaching our kids how to be confident by using your own personal best as a measure (CafeMom had a great hub this summer on raising strong girls -- here are just a few of those tips).

But what can we do every day? To start, point out different types of beauty. This is a great way to incorporate the beauty talk without it turning to vanity. Another good idea? Combat all of the beauty talk in their world by praising your kids for what they do and how they act -- not necessarily how they look. And, finally, though it is hard to remember sometimes, we are their a-number-one role models. As you get ready in the morning, try to "monologue" how you decide what to wear or how you feel looking in the mirror -- when you are a healthy, confident mom who is aware of how she looks but doesn't make it a huge deal, that, perhaps, is the best first step.

How do you manage the line between teaching confidence and the vanity issue with your kids? Share your stories and advice!

©iStockphoto.com/Coffee&Milk 

by on Dec. 28, 2012 at 12:00 AM
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Replies (1-10):
TigerofMu
by Gold Member on Dec. 28, 2012 at 7:14 AM

That is a tough line sometimes.  I try to teach my girls (that's who we have at home) to present themselves well and always try to look/do their best, but I have also had to "ground" my child from her curling iron or the mirror because she was spending the majority of the day primping in it...you'd send her off to do her chores, and find her standing in front of the mirror instead of doig what she was supposed to be doing.  That was definitely one of those lessons!

hollydaze1974
by on Dec. 28, 2012 at 7:53 AM
1 mom liked this
One phrase that i heard from my mother for quite a long time was " Pretty is, as pretty does" . It followed every compliment i was given. It followed every agreement if i went " fishing " for a compliment.
And now as an adult, if i get down on myself, and i say " god, i'm really falling apart.., i'm this, that, whine, whine"
She answers the same way... " Baby, you are beautiful! Pretty is as pretty does! You are kind, polite, and courteous even when they don't deserve it. You treat your family with love and respect, the only thing you are lacking at the moment is remembering, it's the love you have isn't found in the make up and heels....
Your smile and respectful attitude is all you need to be beautiful outwardly.

All that to say: reflect on that saying with your children..." Pretty is as pretty does" ask them what it means, ask what you think it means.
I mean if we saw a child showing sass in public mom would whisper " look at that little boy/ girl being ugly to their mommy/ dad"
He/she may be cute, but aren't they acting ugly?

Redefine the words of attractiveness.
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BabyTeki
by on Dec. 28, 2012 at 8:28 AM
I have no advice myself, but could use plenty
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elasmimi
by on Dec. 28, 2012 at 9:05 AM

Me, too.

Quoting BabyTeki:

I have no advice myself, but could use plenty


cara124
by Member on Dec. 28, 2012 at 9:13 AM

to me being pretty is easy, Acting pretty as in how you behave to the world is what counts the most... being pretty on the outside is easy ( that's just genitics ) being pretty on the inside takes a lot of work .

cara124
by Member on Dec. 28, 2012 at 9:14 AM
1 mom liked this

LOL I had to take away DD 17's straight iron recently because she was taking over an hour to get ready for school and making her sister late everyday .

Quoting TigerofMu:

That is a tough line sometimes.  I try to teach my girls (that's who we have at home) to present themselves well and always try to look/do their best, but I have also had to "ground" my child from her curling iron or the mirror because she was spending the majority of the day primping in it...you'd send her off to do her chores, and find her standing in front of the mirror instead of doig what she was supposed to be doing.  That was definitely one of those lessons!


TigerofMu
by Gold Member on Dec. 28, 2012 at 9:24 AM

They do get silly, don't they?  I have been trying to teach them the difference between looking your best and ridiculous primping.  There is nothing wrong with looking nice,  but I like what one of the earlier posters mentioned about how your inner prettiness shines out.  

Quoting cara124:

LOL I had to take away DD 17's straight iron recently because she was taking over an hour to get ready for school and making her sister late everyday .

Quoting TigerofMu:

That is a tough line sometimes.  I try to teach my girls (that's who we have at home) to present themselves well and always try to look/do their best, but I have also had to "ground" my child from her curling iron or the mirror because she was spending the majority of the day primping in it...you'd send her off to do her chores, and find her standing in front of the mirror instead of doig what she was supposed to be doing.  That was definitely one of those lessons!



Albond86
by Member on Dec. 28, 2012 at 9:26 AM
This for sure

Quoting BabyTeki:

I have no advice myself, but could use plenty
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cara124
by Member on Dec. 28, 2012 at 9:29 AM
1 mom liked this

yes to me its silly. Being while groomed & clean is one thing ... Primping to the point of neglecting things like being on time & chores is just vain. I love when inner prettiness ( being kind to stranger, doing good deeds ect. ) out shines people outer shell .

Quoting TigerofMu:

They do get silly, don't they?  I have been trying to teach them the difference between looking your best and ridiculous primping.  There is nothing wrong with looking nice,  but I like what one of the earlier posters mentioned about how your inner prettiness shines out.  

Quoting cara124:

LOL I had to take away DD 17's straight iron recently because she was taking over an hour to get ready for school and making her sister late everyday .

Quoting TigerofMu:

That is a tough line sometimes.  I try to teach my girls (that's who we have at home) to present themselves well and always try to look/do their best, but I have also had to "ground" my child from her curling iron or the mirror because she was spending the majority of the day primping in it...you'd send her off to do her chores, and find her standing in front of the mirror instead of doig what she was supposed to be doing.  That was definitely one of those lessons!

 



4kidz916
by Member on Dec. 28, 2012 at 9:31 AM

I always tell my kids how beautiful/handsome I they are but I also compliment their actions, their style choices, their taste in music, etc.  I spend a lot of time building them up but we also have conversations about how looks aren't everything and looks can fade and what's on the inside truly makes a person beautiful.  I think it's very important to build their self esteem because my mother never did, she was too afraid of making us vain and in return crushed our self esteem. 

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