Dear Carolyn • We adopted a little girl, and she is very beautiful. I have taken to heart your admonition to center praise around effort and accomplishments, and not looks. My question is, what can I do about comments from people meeting her? (Noting her beauty) is usually one of the first things out of their mouths. Is there a graceful way to demur without being rude, or do we just hope the family emphasis on character has more weight than the entire rest of the world's comments on her looks?
Raising a Beautiful Child
Dear Beautiful Child • This is really hard, because people can't (or won't) help themselves, and kids do internalize messages they hear daily. You can send a polite message to people who say she's beautiful by saying, "Inside and out, thank you." And, you can hold onto the fact that your influence towers over that of the people she meets, at least until peers take over. But if the bulk of the message is about things she controls, like her effort, her attitude, her manners, her determination, her compassion then her chief messenger can lay a stable foundation (inner beauty trumps outer) beneath what the world keeps implying (outer beauty rules).