“Daddy, am I beautiful?” Sometimes, a daughter asks her daddy this question straight out. Sometimes she asks it without saying a word…by curling her hair, putting on makeup, or wearing a new dress she just got. She wants to inspire a positive reaction from someone, and that someone should be you.
In our image-obsessed culture, our daughters are constantly asking themselves that one question. And so, Dads, we have a HUGE opportunity and responsibility to help our daughters realize just how beautiful they really are.
Just as there are many ways a daughter is asking the question, there are many ways that dads are answering the question whether they realize it or not. Here are three ways that we can help her see and believe in her beauty:
First, our WORDS matter.
What we say either communicates that we see her beauty or we don’t. Don’t wait for your daughter to ask you if she’s beautiful. Look for opportunities to tell her. One of the things I’ve learned my daughters appreciate is when I say something like “Wow, have I told you lately how beautiful you are? Whoever gets to marry you is going to be marrying one incredible woman!”
We also need to reinforce that she makes what she wears beautiful, rather than letting her think that what she puts on makes her beautiful. Telling her that SHE makes the dress beautiful when she smiles is a better message than telling her that the dress she’s wearing makes her beautiful. When we don’t tell her she’s beautiful, she’s left to wonder if she is and is prone to comparing herself to others and to the fake images that the media uses to scream to our girls “Be like us…THIS is beautiful!”
By the way, this issue of beauty is not a choice between inner beauty and outer beauty. It’s a “both-and” equation. Tell her when her inner beauty shines too—her personality, her heart and her attitude.
Second, our ACTIONS matter.
This last Father’s Day, I got a card from one of my daughters that reminded me of one of the ways that I communicated how precious and beautiful she is to me. In the note, she specifically mentioned how she loved it when I spontaneously danced with her in the living room. Through my actions, I was communicating that she is beautiful.
Our appropriate physical affection as dads communicates how beautiful our daughters are. It also sets standards of expectation for how a man should treat a lady. And the time we spend with our girls communicates their value and beauty as well. Our daughters learn they are lovely by the ways we treat them, not just the words we say to them. [Click to Tweet]
Third, our REACTIONS matter.
How we react in the presence of our daughters to how other women look matters. When we are unguarded about our comments on the looks of other women, both attractive and unattractive, our daughters pick up on our judgments and begin to wonder if that applies to them or not.
Negative observations like, “That lady needs to go on a diet!” may be a comment in jest, but it plants the seeds of doubt and self-judgment that can haunt a daughter. Also, crude comments about even attractive features of other women communicate to her that this is how you really view women, and again plants doubts about her ability to measure up.
Men, let’s be intentional and careful about this issue of beauty. There is no one on this planet who can affect your daughter’s sense of value and beauty the way you can, Dad!
How have you communicated to your daughter that she is beautiful? Would you share your thoughts below?