A few days ago, I was perusing our local Facebook community page when I came upon your post asking where your daughter could get her eyebrows done.
In the comments, you went on to explain that your daughter doesn’t want to change her eyebrows, but that she has “a bit of a unibrow.” When asked, you replied that your daughter was 11 years old.
Eleven. My heart sank.
A few other moms commented about their daughters’ “terrible” eyebrows and the best places to get them done. It took everything in me not to comment on that post and to ignore Facebook for the rest of the day.
Please stop everything you are doing right now and listen closely. The only thing you should be telling your daughter about her body is that she is beautiful.
You see, I was that little girl. My sister and cousin jokingly referred to my eyebrows as “bushman eyebrows.” While I don’t fault them for their comments – they were just kids after all – they have stuck with me even through adulthood.
As soon as I was old enough, I got my eyebrows waxed and kept them unnaturally thin.
As a young girl, I thought I was ugly. I longed for the day I was old enough to buy my own clothes and wear make up. I thought that if I had control over how I looked, I would somehow be able to make myself beautiful.
When old enough to dress how I wanted, color my hair, and wear as much makeup as I wanted, I did feel sexy. But feeling sexy didn’t make me feel beautiful. It was comments like yours, jabs at the “imperfections” of my body, that made me feel like I had to change everything about myself.
I’ve probably made similar comments about others, unintentionally triggering a dislike of one aspect of themselves or another. It’s a problem that we all have. We feel that commenting on someone else’s appearance is acceptable.
The truth is, it shouldn’t be.
Comments like yours are damaging. As a mother, you should only offer your daughter positive feedback about her body. As a pre-teen, she is experiencing the rollercoaster of emotions that goes along with adolescent hormone changes. Her body will make many drastic adjustments over these next few years, and she will most likely wish that one thing or the other was different.
Sadly, she will probably spend the rest of her life convinced that her body is “wrong” or “unattractive.” She will be told by magazines and blogs that she needs to wear a certain foundation to cover her flaws, that she needs to wear eye makeup to achieve that pop of color that’s so desirable.
Society always has something to say about a woman’s body.
You may struggle with body image issues of your own. You probably know how difficult it is to feel confident. But please be an example for your daughter. Do not degrade yourself or your body. Embrace your unique beauty. Don’t talk about your weight, don’t endure crazy unhealthy diets, and don’t focus on what you perceive to be your flaws.
Help your daughter develop a healthy relationship with food by showing her good eating habits. Teach her to love her body by encouraging her to maintain an active and healthy lifestyle. But please, I beg you, stop trying to “help” your daughter by telling her that she needs to change.
Your daughter is beautiful.
To you it may seem like “just eyebrows.” To her, it’s just one more thing that makes her not pretty enough or good enough. You need to be the one person she can look to for encouragement, the one who will always tell her “you’re perfect just the way you are.”
As moms, it’s our responsibility to help our daughters look at themselves positively.
A local mom of two beautiful daughters