Humans have long been obsessed with beauty. Early Egyptians revered youthful, slim women who had golden skin, much like Cleopatra. In the ancient Greek times, beauty meant having fire-red locks, full-figured body, and a proportionate face enough to launch a thousand ships. Throughout history and perhaps, even to this day, this obsession has been even more amplified, thanks to social media. The thing is physical beauty is temporary. It fades. It goes out of fashion. Suffice it to say, serving pretty looks isn’t enough to make a mark in this society we live in.
But kindness, decency, courage, and resiliency—these are a few of the attributes that never go out of style. With the generation of girls we’re raising, are we cultivating them to offer something that’s beyond superficial beauty? It’s a rather unpredictable world we’re living today, and while they’re young, it’s best to start motivating them for what truly makes them beautiful. Here are some compliments you can give your daughters that have nothing to do with looks.
10 “I am amazed by your courage”
Fears are never not a part of living. As humans, as imperfect as we are, we each have things that terrify us and suppress us from discovering what’s lying beyond that fear. At times, these anxieties arise from childhood experiences, which may carry on until adulthood where it remains deeply ingrained into one’s habits and identity.
When your child showcases an act of bravery, even in the most minuscule ways, like, say, overcoming her shots, don’t forget to praise her for it. This will foster bravery even more and will be a good reminder that they can do whatever they want, as long as they have the heart to do it.
9 “I love how helpful you are”
If your daughter loves to lend a hand, be proud that at a young age, she knows the value of selflessness. The reality is not all of us are born with the same capabilities, resources, and privileges. At one point, someone’s going to need our help and the same thing goes for us.
It’s also equally important to teach your child how to lend a hand without expecting anything in return. Helping others without any expectations makes the act an even more genuine one. Complimenting your daughter with this good deed will tell them that helping is good and she should do it more often.
8 “You are intelligent”
Being intelligent isn’t confined to excelling in academics. Don’t worry if your daughter can’t still figure out her letters, numbers, and shapes, or if she doesn’t get straight As growing up. The thing is, she may be smart in different ways.
In fact, there are eight distinct intelligences. The most common we know are verbal, logical or mathematical, bodily-kinesthetic, and musical. Then there’s spatial, the ability to comprehend shapes and images; interpersonal, the ability to interact efficiently with others; intrapersonal, or self-awareness and introspection; and finally, naturalistic, the ability to connect to nature and the world.
7 “I love seeing you happy”
Having a healthy, happy child can give us a sense of relief and assurance that we may have been doing the right things as parents. After all, this is what we want for them, right? Complimenting your children when they are happy can serve as a reminder for them to enjoy what they are doing.
It’s also important to remind them, though, that their happiness shouldn’t be at the expense of other’s feelings. We’d love to see them smiling all the time, but make sure to compliment your kid’s happiness only when it’s derived from good nature.
6 “It’s great you’re expressing what you feel”
While sadness, fear, and vulnerability are unpleasant emotions, it doesn’t mean that our daughters should avoid these feelings. We should praise our kids if, once in a while, they let their guard off and express what they truly feel, instead of hiding all these unpleasant emotions just to show a “strong” impression.
Hiding these unpleasant—yet completely normal and healthy—feelings can eventually wreak havoc in their mental, emotional, and behavioral health. Strength doesn’t necessarily mean you’re not weak or crying, it’s the ability to face these emotions and overcome them. If they’re able to speak up for what they feel, that alone takes an admirable strength, especially in this world where these negative emotions are frowned upon.
5 “I’m proud of your resilience”
Resilience, although a hard concept to explain to a child, is the ability to rise up and be a source of pride despite their deplorable conditions. These kids are expected to fail, given their hard conditions—ranging from strained family relationships to poverty—but still overcome their situation and emerge successful among their peers.
If a child has gone through a big change, like parents’ divorce, for example, and still stood up successfully and held herself together, then she deserves an admiration. It’s hard for adults to deal with things like this, let alone children who also had to undergo such enormous change.
4 “I admire your confidence”
If adults get anxious in facing an unknown crowd, what more do we expect from kids? Introducing ourselves (or even our works and abilities) to people, whether we know them or not, can be quite intimidating especially with the presence of unsavory comments looming ahead.
As they grow up, there will always be detractors, people who underestimate them, and doubters, yet if they have confidence in themselves, they’ll know how to blindside these opinions and just focus on their abilities. If your daughter overcomes this challenge, it’s a good opportunity to give them a pat on the back and compliment them. Boosting your kid’s confidence can help them in the long-run as it can harness their self-esteem.
3 “I’m proud you’re figuring things your own”
Children are essentially born inquisitive. They learn how to adapt and thrive in this world mostly by experience, and this is how they gain knowledge of the things around them. Complimenting your kids for their independence drive them more to get up and stand on their feet alone.
Kids love to be complimented. If they hear these words of affirmation, it means they’re doing things on the right track. Likewise, kids love to be given a sort of independence. This gives them a sense of responsibility, which is a good thing even when they’re still young. If you notice your kid being independent, don’t feel sad that she’s growing up too fast. At least, she’s learning the ropes on her own and it’s something you should be proud of.
2 “I admire your hard work”
Planting positive compliments have a huge impact on children. This becomes what they believe in and they’ll embody this trait as they grow up. But while it’s important to compliment your child, experts advice to keep them in a reasonable frequency because too much of these inflated praises can result in a failure-fearing kid. Unbeknownst to most parents, there’s a fine line between compliment-pushing and positively praising children.
If you see your child exerting a considerable effort in accomplishing tasks, that’s the best time to give equal merit. To avoid raising a self-inflated daughter, only give credit where it's due.
1 “You’re so kind”
Nowadays, kindness is the currency. It’s not enough that girls are pretty, smart, well-dressed or high-achieving. Kindness and compassion, regardless of gender and age, can take anyone a long way. If you see your child doing acts of kindness and compassion, consider yourself a lucky parent. With all the obnoxious influences around us today—be it from television, mobile gadgets, or even adults like us—it’s a rare sight to see someone who has a genuinely warm heart.
Yes, people may take advantage of our child’s kindness, but as long as it doesn’t put them in harm's way, let it slide—as you sow, so shall you reap. And don’t forget what they always say, kindness is a ripple.