The 3.5 year old child is beautiful. She has got some used beautiful dresses from one of my cousin's older child which she loves to wear in the house.

My parents and the child's father constantly keep on praising her hair, her dress, her looks etc.
When I have to praise, I praise only patience and hard work.

The child is greatly disciplined, helps me with her own will in the household chores, trusts me, and listens to me.

I have tried to explain to these people that these excessive praises can be damaging to the mental health of the child, but they do not listen.

Please tell me what I can do to counter the negative side effects of this move by the external factors which I cannot control?

P.S. Throwing these people out of my life is not a practical idea as of now. Father of the child lives with us, and grandparents visit twice in a month. This time they want the child to live with them for some days.

  • You are the mother, and "Father of the child" is your husband? The family constellation is not clear to me since you are speaking about the child in third person.
    – daraos
    Nov 28, 2016 at 10:24
  • Yes, @daraos. ... Nov 28, 2016 at 12:32
  • Does she get praise for non-appearance characteristics (kindness, discipline, etc.) from these relatives as well, or are they almost exclusively focusing on beauty?
    – Acire
    Nov 28, 2016 at 16:27
  • 1
    Related: parenting.stackexchange.com/q/20900/4054
    – Acire
    Nov 28, 2016 at 17:11

2 Answers 2


I think all kids benefit from knowing they are admired as preschoolers; it builds confidence. I also think that many preschoolers are told they are beautiful, cute, smart and so on and and when they get to kindergarten, things normalise. Positivity is a good thing. Parents and friends can be relied on to say nice things.

If you think that the child is particularly beautiful and it actually could become a problem, start suggesting to the child that inner beauty and kindness are far more important than looks. If she is a beauty, she needs to know that people are attracted to beauty for convoluted reasons, and not all of them are nice. Let her know that if someone likes her for her looks and not for her accomplishments that they don't actually like her -- they like her like they like anything superficially. It's the same with a cute puppy, pretty doll, or a great car -- they like it superficially and not because that's a well trained and friendly pup, or the doll has a personality, or the car is reliable.

You can't parent other adults. You can ask them to consider your point of view, and explain your position, or you can avoid them but the only person you can change is yourself. You can help the child see things in a better way, but she will ultimately take what she has learned and apply it herself. You can show her your way of thinking, but it is unlikely that she'll see it as the only way.

  • 1
    Well said. And as the child is helpful, disciplined, and listens to the mom, I expect the praises on her looks can be held as just background positive messages she is getting, which can be, like you said, nothing more than confidence builders.
    – user16557
    Nov 28, 2016 at 21:32

If family members state that your child is beautiful, her hair looks nice, etc... don't take that as a bad thing. Most people really don't know how to compliment kids of 3 1/2 years old - other than - "cute, beautiful, hair is nice..." etc... Don't let those compliments bother you...

What you might want to do is consider other avenues, like begin speaking with your relatives on how well she is doing in school, what she made in crafts, the details of her creative crayon masterpiece that she made for you for Christmas, etc.

If the grandparents and father have other things to praise your daughter for - let them do it. Like I stated, the default is usually somewhat canned and seems shallow... However, if you and her begin sharing other aspects of her growing up - learning; artwork; dancing; singing; playing, then this opens up other areas for various compliments.

Compliments are not a bad thing at all. Just support your daughter in every way... The only way the compliment could be negative, is if your daughter intentionally did poorly on something and she gets 'praised' for doing a poor job. If your daughter did a poor job, don't praise her, but simply show her what needs to be fixed/corrected and try to explain on her level why. In fact, I try to have my own kids answer their own questions. This will help them learn and grow.

Very best!


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