Q&A | How do you teach little girls that they are more than pretty?

How do I teach my daughter to value her inner-beauty? How do I teach her that self-worth isn’t sealed into pretty?

I will teach her that strangers can’t see the beautiful stuff on the inside. However, out of some bizarre cultural norm she will find that these strangers constantly praise and discuss her external appearance. In today's episode, I'm sharing the simple words I use with my daughter tell her that she is more than pretty.

Show Notes/Links:

Hello, and welcome to episode 200 today. I'm answering the question. How do we teach little girls that they are more than pretty? Hi, this is Denaye. I'm the founder of Simple Families. Simple Families is an online community for parents who are seeking a simpler more intentional life. In this show, we focus on minimalism with kids, positive parenting, family wellness, and decreasing the mental load. My perspectives are based in my firsthand experience, raising kids, but also rooted in my Ph.D. In child development. So you're going to hear conversations that are based in research, but more importantly, real life. Thanks for joining us.

Hey there, thanks for tuning in. I can't believe we are on episode 200. So the Simple Families podcast started three years ago. It was three years in February and it's been an amazing journey. I think right now we're at about 2.2 million downloads, I believe. And overall Simple Families ranks in the top 3% of all podcasts, which is kind of hard to believe. And I know I've said this before, but I constantly feel so grateful to be doing this work. I can't imagine a better gig. I get to talk to interesting people. I get to share my thoughts. It is truly a dream job, and I am so thankful for you all for supporting me through this for the past couple of years, if you're brand new to the podcast on Tuesdays, we do this shorter Q and A episode. And what this episode looks like is I spend the first half of the episode sharing something simple that I'm loving or possibly something simple that you all are loving.

And you've shared with me. And then in the second half of the show, I'm answering a question from an audience member. Now, my something simple for today, well, it's not groundbreaking. It's Mason jars. We use Mason jars for everything in our house. So we don't even have drinking glasses. We just drink out of Mason jars. So we have one cupboard that holds the Mason jars. We use them for breakfast, for lunch, for dinner. Even when we have guests over, we used to have regular drinking glasses, but we broke them all over time. So we just decided to stick with the Mason jars because they never break. At first, I thought it was a little bit too casual and it looked like we were going for like a country chic look, which we definitely were not for us. It's just a practical choice. So we have the Mason jars all in a cupboard.

We use them for drinking, but we also use them for food storage. We do meal prep every week, and it's really easy to grab one of these for salad dressing for leftovers. We have plastic lids. So I've gotten rid of all the metal lids for our Mason jars, because those just aren't conducive for regular use. With the plastic lids, you can do pretty much anything with them. Now, I prefer to use them for storage in the fridge because you're storing food vertically, which saves space. The standard 16 ounce size is also a really good size for a single serving of leftovers, an adult to take, to work for lunch, whether it's soup, a stew, even pasta. And because these are glass, you can stick them in a microwave. If we're heading out for a long day where we're going to be running errands, we will usually take our reusable water bottles.

But invariably, those don't last too long. We usually empty those in an hour or two on days like that. I'll fill up some Mason jars to have extra water, to refill our water bottles when we're out and about. So we don't have to stop and buy plastic ones. And Amazon is a Mecca for everything. A lot of things you don't need, but they have a lot of attachments for Mason jars. So not only can you get the plastic lids, but you can also get a different type of top that turns a Mason jar into a soap dispenser. So if you're trying to reduce your plastics, you can get a gallon of hand soap and just refill it in your Mason jar with your soap pamphlet, you can also get lids with straws built in so you can drink smoothies out of them. One of my kids' favorite things is there is a little metal attachment that you put on the top that has space divided up to make a Mason jar into a flower vase.

And you can poke each individual flower through a different hole. And it creates a beautiful little floral arrangement. And because it's small, it doesn't take a ton of flowers to make a really nice, simple little floral arrangement. And you never need to ask for the vase back. So on the fly for a quick gift for a teacher, I have definitely stopped by trader Joe's paid five bucks for some pretty flowers, put them in a Mason jar with a little ribbon around the top used one of our little flower cut, insert things which I'm going to put in the show notes because I'm not exactly sure what these things are called. You might have no idea what I'm talking about until you see them and then you'll know it'll make sense to you anyways. So yes, my love for Mason jars, we use them all the time in lots of different ways.

I'm going to put the links to all these adapter types of things in the show notes at simplefamilies.com/episode200 before we get into today's Q and a section here is a quick 62nd word from our sponsor. The sponsor for today's episode is ButcherBox. ButcherBox is a high-quality meat subscription service. Why is it important to buy high quality humanely raised meat? It's better for you. It's better for the animal and it's better for the environment I've loved. ButcherBox it makes shopping for meats so easy each month, they curate a selection of high quality meat and send it right to my house. It's free of antibiotics and added hormones. So it's kind of a no-brainer right now, ButhcherBox is offering new members, ground beef for life. That's two pounds of ground beef in every box for the life of their subscription. Plus $20 off their first box.

Go to butcherbox.com/families, or enter the promo code "families" at checkout. Again that's butcherbox.com/families, or enter the promo code "families" at checkout. All right, onto today's question. This comes from Taren in Beau Washington. Taran has a little girl who's turning four in March and a son turning one. She wrote hi Denaye. I found work last summer, just at the right time. I took your masterclass this past fall, and I'm continuing to find ways to create a family rhythm and parenting style that is simpler and more sustainable. I'm excited about these Q and A podcasts with the simple things that you're loving. It's the perfect length for washing a sink full of dishes and easy to apply in my parenting. As soon as the kids wake up from nap. Thank you. Our family's question relates to our four-year-old daughter and her blossoming self-image since she was a baby, nearly everywhere we go when we are out and about someone comments on how cute, beautiful, or pretty she is, we don't focus on looks, but from beauty within when she sees me applying makeup, I talk about how it's fun to get fancy, but I'm beautiful without makeup too.

My husband and I are wondering if you have any suggestions for what to say to people, strangers or acquaintances, when they comment on her appearance and how to process this with our daughter, it feels like these comments which are intended to be kind are sending the wrong message about what is valuable in a daughter, girl, or woman. Thank you. So Taryn I'm right here with you. I have a daughter the same age and I do not like it. When people compliment her, looks in public. This has been an ongoing thing since she was a tiny baby. It does seem to happen more with girls. I'm not going to say that it doesn't happen with boys, but it happens more. So with girls, we do tell her that she's beautiful all the time. She does seek out beauty in many different ways, but we try to be intentional.

We're not perfect, but we do what we can. So we don't play into the princess culture, but we also don't reject it. She's really interested in all of the traditional stories, whether it's sleeping beauty or snow white or Cinderella, she loves all of those. I try to lean towards reading her the more traditional versions of the story rather than the Disney version. And the reason for that being that I'm just not a big fan of the Disney princess culture, even though I do think they're doing a lot of really wonderful things with making the princesses, the heroines, it's less about the Disney princess culture and more about the commercialism that comes with all of it, all of the toys and the dresses and the shirts and the blankets, you name it. I guess that's more of what kind of gets me out. I don't want to get into all of that.

And I feel like that's a slippery slope. So like I said, we don't buy into it. We don't purchase the princess stuff, but we also don't reject it because she is interested in it and I don't make it into a bad or a negative thing. Part of dressing, my kids in a simple wardrobe is so that they are not attracting all their attention based on the things that they're wearing. I definitely like to dress my kids cute, but I don't want to dress them in clothes that are going to attract a ton of attention. So we don't do things like sparkles and sequence or even clothing with words and sayings that are going to attract attention. I'd rather them get attention for their inner character rather than the stuff that they're wearing. But that's just my personal thoughts and opinions. I've had a lot of people tell me that their kids express themselves and their creativity through their clothing and what they're wearing.

And I think that's totally okay too. Remember, this is just my own thing. So by dressing my kids more simply, I do think that helps them to attract less attention when we're out and about, but it does happen from time to time. My daughter, especially we'll get compliments about being cute or looking beautiful. So we have started trying to shift some of the language around that. I'm always trying to find a balance of being rude and being able to speak up for my kids when they need it. When someone in the grocery store says, Oh, you're so cute or, Oh, you're so pretty. I don't really feel like it's my place to say, Oh, we don't say that or to correct them. If this is a stranger who I'm probably never going to encounter again, I'm probably just not doing that. Maybe you are, but I'm just not doing it.

What I'm doing instead is as soon as that stranger walks away, I'm taking that word that was used. Maybe it's pretty, maybe the stranger said, Oh, you're so pretty. And the minute they walk away looking at my daughter and saying, you're more than pretty, you're brave and strong and kind and clever. And this has become kind of a mantra that we use with her all the time. Anytime we say that, she's beautiful. She says it back to us now. So if I say, Oh, you look beautiful. She'll say I'm more than beautiful. I'm brave and strong. I'm clever and kind. So in this language, we're not saying that she isn't beautiful or isn't pretty, we're just saying, yeah, you are those things, but you're so much more. And it might seem like a little language shift, but the words we use become the inner language inside our children's heads.

The things that we value and emphasize will be the things that they're more likely to value and emphasize. Now we aren't the only ones programming their inner language. So as society. So as every magazine cover that they see every movie that they see every celebrity, but when they're little, our voices are still the loudest and most important voices. So we can start to plant the seeds early. Will it be enough? I don't know. It's hard to say, but that's how we handle it. Now. Something else that I have been really careful to shift is the way that I talk to other women. I very, very rarely compliment other women on their appearance. You'll never find me saying things like, Oh, you look so great. Have you lost weight? Or I love that blouse. Where did you get that? Instead, I try to talk to them about other more meaningful things like feelings and relationships and their life's work, whatever that is.

So not only is it the way that we talk to our kids that matters, but also the way that we talk to other women and men too, when they see us praising others for appearance and beauty, they're going to see the value that we're placing on it. Now, remember I'm not absolute and extremist about anything. So it's not that I never compliment a friend, but when possible, I try to focus on complimenting them on the inner stuff rather than the outer stuff. And I think it's good for the adult hearing those words, but I also think it's good for the kids who are watching too. So for us emphasizing inner beauty has been a matter of changing our language and making sure that we are not going out of our way to draw attention to our kids, outer beauty, but we're not dismissing it either.

We're just emphasizing that other things are more important. I hope you found this helpful, and I appreciate you tuning in today. If you're enjoying the Simple Families podcast, to make sure you hit subscribe. So you get all the updates and make sure you're on the email list to go to simple families.com and leave your email address at the top as always. Thanks for tuning in this has been episode 200. And if you want to get the links to the things that we're talking about here, go to simplefamilies.com/episode200. And thank you again for sticking with me for the past couple of years. I appreciate you. Thank you.

Denaye Barahona

Dr. Denaye Barahona is a loving wife and mama of two. She partners with families to tackle the challenges of raising children. Denaye is a minimalist who claims to be a decluttering expert (don't let her near your closet). She loves to travel, talk health-and-wellness, and give unsolicited advice. She has been featured on the likes of The Today Show, The Wall Street Journal, The Huffington Post, The Minimalists, Motherly, Becoming Minimalist, and numerous other media outlets. Denaye holds a Ph.D. in Child Development and is a Clinical Social Worker with a specialty in child and family practice.