Saying the right thing

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Sophie has spent a lot of time over the last few weeks commenting on how she looks; ‘I look pretty like this’ when I’ve done her hair, for example. I have tried very hard for the last five and a half years not to praise her too much for how she looks, but try to get a balance of praise for hard work, or trying to do something, as well as the occasional ‘you look pretty’.

That’s what all the parenting advice says nowadays, to make sure that she doesn’t grow up shallow or feeling that the only thing she has are her looks, which obviously isn’t true.

But. I would tell any son that he looked handsome so I don’t see why I shouldn’t tell her she looks pretty, but I do worry about her growing up with a fascination about looks. And then I wonder whether our parents had the same worries and the same pressures about making sure they always say the ‘right’ thing and I’ve decided that if she looks pretty I’ll tell her, and if she’s tried hard, I’ll tell her well done for that. Surely the right balance is all that matters?!

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