I had a conversation with my 5 year old daughter the other night that concerned me.
I was combing her hair and we were chatting. I can’t remember what about, but she commented about how she wished she were as pretty as her friends Sara and Anna. My heart sank, and the first thing I thought was, “How on earth does my 5 year old even know anything about being prettier than someone or not as pretty as someone?” We don’t talk about those things. We don’t make reference to someone being prettier or better looking than someone else. We don’t talk about ourselves being better looking or less better looking than someone else. We don’t even talk about not liking how we look, etc.
I asked why she wanted to look like them, and she said they have brown hair and brown eyes and she wants to look like that. Thus began a very long conversation, where I repeatedly told her she was beautiful, God made her that way and He loves her just the way she is, etc. I explained to her that beauty isn’t what is on the outside, but what is on the inside.
We don’t watch much television, and what I do let the kids watch is PBS and kids movies. I can’t think of any shows or movies she may have seen where she picked that up at. I suppose it could be something kids just pick up on, but it makes me so sad to hear my 5 year old compare her looks to another girl already! I’m sad to have to reassure her she is beautiful the way she is. I try to think if there is something I’ve done wrong, and while I know I am not a perfect parent, I am pretty confident that this wasn’t spurred by something I’ve done. I worry for what her future will be like if she is feeling this already. Will she constantly compare herself to others? Be dissatisfied with herself? I know this is normal, but doesn’t seem normal for a 5 year old.
Please tell me I am not alone in this. Have you had to have this talk with one of your kids already? Ever this early?