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How do we teach confidence without creating vanity?

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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!


by on Dec. 28, 2012 at 12:00 AM
Replies (41-50):
by Gold Member on Dec. 31, 2012 at 12:35 PM

i am working on this

by on Dec. 31, 2012 at 9:22 PM

I always feel emotionally insecure, but as for looks none of us a perfect, and after just getting fresh air, a good diet, and a nice refreshing walk in the cool air, I don't desire any makeup or seek that stuff, but to each their own.  Right@!

I actually look horrible with makeup so I try to just impose simplicity.  Stay active, and not go on here too ''overboard'', but it's nice to see this up still for the reading and reflect.

by on Jan. 1, 2013 at 1:19 AM

Theology of the body.

by Silver Member on Jan. 1, 2013 at 7:55 AM

I never had an issue ith this in parenting. 

by Bronze Member on Jan. 1, 2013 at 9:06 AM

I think it's important to compliment what they achieve and less on how they look.

by Member on Jan. 1, 2013 at 10:23 AM
I think that's a tough one. I try to tell my kids everyday how beautiful they are. At the same time I don't want to tell them too much.
by on Jan. 1, 2013 at 10:38 AM

I try to teach her that there are more important things than physical beauty.

by Silver Member on Jan. 1, 2013 at 10:41 AM

I am a truly confident person with myself, We have watch top model and things like that , I have talked with her and said this is not average most of these girls a sickly thin. Be yourself and you will be loved.

by Bronze Member on Jan. 1, 2013 at 10:45 AM

Good article and very fine line here!

by Bronze Member on Jan. 1, 2013 at 10:47 AM

I praised for effort, not for everything that the child did.

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