How 10 Moms Teach Their Daughters About Beauty

How 10 Moms Teach Their Daughters About Beauty

Beauty and daughters -- we asked moms how they talk to their girls about it.

By Judy Koutsky

I grew up as one of five girls, and my mom made sure she emphasized to my sisters and me that it was important to be good people. There was never any pressure or emphasis on outside looks.

My sisters and I all wore makeup, did up our hair before school, and spent probably too much on clothes and shoes. But that was our choice, not something my mom pushed on us. As an adult, I don’t really wear makeup, don’t care much about clothes or shoes, and wear my hair in a ponytail most of the time. I really do try to focus on putting out positive energy and being kind toward others. I guess Mom’s teachings sunk in.

I asked moms around the country how they teach their daughters about beauty. The answers may surprise you.

1. “I have three girls and I try to show them beauty is kindness. We recently helped out at a food kitchen and I told my girls their act was beautiful -- and it was.” -- Lisa, Edison, New Jersey

2. “My daughters are only 2 and 4, and they already want to put on my makeup and wear my fancy shoes. I’m trying to teach them that there’s a difference between grooming -- being clean and presentable -- and trying to look good for others.” -- Sharon, New York City

3. “My teenage girls were not allowed to wear makeup until [age] 16. I know that sounds old, but I wanted them to know that it’s not about looks. It’s about how you present yourself emotionally and socially, not just physically.” -- Laurie, Chicago, Illinois

4. “I want my girls to know beauty is tied to confidence. I encourage them in their interests -- one is dance and the other is art. Loving what they do makes them beautiful.” -- Cheryl, Austin, Texas

5. “When my daughters started wearing makeup, I told them to wear it for themselves. Not anyone else. Don’t ask someone else if they like this color lipstick or that color eye shadow. If my daughter likes it, that’s good enough.” -- Samantha, New Paltz, New York

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6. “There’s no way to avoid the fact that we live in a beauty-obsessed culture. So I don’t fight it. I let my girls wear makeup and dress up, but I try and compliment them on actions -- doing well in school -- and not their appearance.” – Rosie, Grader, Washington

7. “I never wore makeup and my daughter wears a ton, go figure. I also never addressed the subject of beauty with her. We have a close relationship and she’s smart -- I think she knows beauty has its place, but it’s not the whole package.” -- Roxanne, Bloomington, Indiana

8. “My daughter just got dumped by the good-looking boy at school. I think it taught her a valuable lesson: There’s more to a relationship than an attractive face.” -- Jackie, Tallahassee, Florida

9. “From a young age, people told my daughter she was pretty and she is, but we, her family, focus on her great sense of humor and her infectious laugh. Sometimes by not addressing an issue, you’re addressing it. We’re saying beauty doesn’t define her, her personality does.” -- Kelly, Detroit, Michigan

10. “I adopted a daughter from China who needed four surgeries, including a cleft palate. Her scars are still visible. I tell her daily how beautiful she is. I think it’s good to hear it. And I mean it.” -- Risa, Tucson, Arizona

How do you define beauty?

Judy Koutsky is the former Editorial Director of KIWI magazine, a green parenting publication. She was also Executive Editor of, AOL Parent and Follow her on Twitter @JudyKoutsky.

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