I was temporarily stunned into silence when I heard those words from my daughter.
Because she's three years old.
So it begins
What?! Already? Is this how it begins? So soon? Why does she care whether he thinks she is pretty? Most importantly: How have I contributed to this? And, what can I do to combat it?
The first answer is "No", this is not how it begins. It begins so much earlier. It begins when she was born. I begins with how we talk to our kids. This video shows pretty clearly some of the common pitfalls in the way we talk to girls.
Have I contributed to this?
Probably. I tell her she's beautiful. I also tell her she is wonderful, funny, smart.
How can I combat it?
I can be more aware of the language I use, and how I respond to her behavior.
Ever since she was born, we try to make sure she has an assortment of toys to play with, not just stereotypical girl toys. We also encourage her to take things apart, and encourage her to try again when she wants to give up (girls tend to give up faster than boys and doubt their abilities more).
We also want to help her to be independent and responsible. We try to give her the freedom to make decisions about her life (within reason, I mean, she is three). That said, there are a lot of ways a three-year-old can be involved. She helps chose books we'll read, and the activities we'll do. She also helps with chores around the house and cleaning up her own messes.
She also helps choose her clothes. It would be an understatement to say my daughter loves pink and frilly dresses. As her parents, we let her wear what she wants, making a mental note that we would do the same with any child (although we do try to sneak some other colors and styles in). We also try to encourage her to get dirty, to explore, to investigate, and to question. The dresses will wash. And what's wrong with a few stains anyway? The experiences are worth so much more.
So, what did I respond with? I told her that it doesn't matter what anyone else thinks of her. She is pretty and she should wear whatever she likes to wear, because she likes it.
And then we went and played in the dirt.
|Mud is exponentially more fun than dirt.|