What to Say to Pretty Little Girls

untitled-design-53I probably read a few dozen articles online everyday. But each year, only a handful really stop me in my tracks. In 2011, I didn’t even have a baby. I was barely married a year. But I mentally bookmarked an article by Lisa Bloom because even though I didn’t have a daughter, I needed it.

In the article, Lisa tells the story of visiting a friend’s home for a dinner party, meeting their daughter, and her initial reaction.

Little Maya was all curly brown hair, doe-like dark eyes, and adorable in her shiny pink nightgown. I wanted to squeal, ‘Maya, you’re so cute! Look at you! Turn around and model that pretty ruffled gown, you gorgeous thing!'”

Lisa calls this, “our culture’s standard talking-to-little-girls icebreaker”.

Since reading this article, I have spent the past 5 years trying to break the habit of using this “standard talking-to-little-girls icebreaker”. Instead I try to talk about books, interests, and life. 

But it’s hard. It’s so engrained in me.

Now that I have a little girl of my own, I just want to squeal all the time. And I think that’s ok. I will squeal if I feel so inclined to do so. I will tell her she is beautiful. But I will also be intentional with my impact on her relationship with clothes.

  • I want to teach her not to rely on physical appearance to validate her self-worth.
  • I want to teach her that clothes are important. It’s important to look smart and put-together.
  • I want to teach her that less is always more. Unless it involves covering girly parts. Then of course, more is always more.
  • I want to teach her to never let her clothes outshine her kindness, warmth, and humility. It can be hard to see those admirable traits through leopard print and glitter. 

Don’t let clothes clutter up the way people see her. Give people a clear lens to the real shiny qualities. Because she is all glittery on the inside.



Denaye Barahona

Denaye Barahona is a loving wife and mama of two. She's a therapist for moms, an author, and the host of the top-ranked Simple Families Podcast. Denaye holds a Ph.D. in Child Development and is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. She has been featured on the likes of The Today Show, Netflix, The Wall Street Journal, Real Simple, Forbes, and numerous other media outlets.