How to Teach What “Being Beautiful” Looks Like

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We live in a world obsessed with physical appearance, so it’s important to teach children what inner beauty is at an early age.

Teach your daughter what being beautiful is all about

Our culture emphasizes outward beauty, but it’s what’s on the inside that counts. The question is: How do we teach this to our girls?

“Do I look beautiful, Mommy?” My three-year-old daughter gazes up at me with big brow eyes, eagerly anticipating my response. She looks beautiful to me. But is that what really matters to her? To her heart?

“You do look beautiful today, honey.” I pull her into a squeeze. “But your joy on the inside is especially sparkly this morning—and what’s in your heart is the most beautiful part.”

I love what 1 Peter 3:3-4 says about this:

“Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, . . . Instead it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.”

Because we live in a world obsessed with physical appearance, it’s important to teach children this concept at an early age <click to tweet>.

In Beauty and the Best, author Debra Evans writes:

“In Scriptures, physical beauty is never used as a metaphor for goodness or counted as any kind of moral virtue. In spite of the fairy tales that abound in our culture, beauty has no magical power to make bad people good.”

Parenting expert Mary Manz Simon, Ed.D, agrees.

“We may tell our child, ‘Oh, you look so nice,’ and that’s certainly appropriate, but we need to make sure we balance that by also focusing on our child’s God-given gifts and talents.”

How to teach what “being beautiful” looks like <click to tweet>:

  • Observe which two or three character traits your daughter has naturally, such as honesty or patience, then reinforce those. “Be very specific with your praise so your child knows exactly what action should be repeated to have her inner beauty shine,” Dr. Simon says.
  • Consider significant goals you have for your daughter. Do you believe your child can be a great scientist or musician? Let her know. Chances are, looking pretty in a mirror isn’t on that list.
  • Catch her “being beautiful.” Though my preschooler still seeks affirmation about her appearance, she also thrives on compliments about her gentleness, her creativity, and her generosity. As I watched my daughter offer a hand-drawn picture to a friend, I noticed a sparkle of joy in her eyes. It was true beauty . . . and I told her so.

More tips:

  • Give your daughter a sense of identity. Tell her she is a special creation designed by God. Just as God made her different from everyone else on the outside, He also made her unique on the inside.
  • Take your child to the mirror and show her the loveliness of her smile and the brightness of her eyes. Tell her this is inner beauty coming out.
  • When your child displays a good attitude and godly character qualities, be sure to mention them. When she seeks a compliment about her physical appearance, also point out inner qualities.
  • Pray with your child each day, specifically asking God to help her love others in beautiful ways.
  • When you read stories to your child, discuss the inner qualities of the characters—both positive and negative. Point out we can’t judge people’s hearts by their outward appearances. For example, Snow White’s stepmother, though beautiful, was wicked. When you read Bible stories, talk about inner strengths—the obedience of Noah, the faithfulness of Daniel, the courage of Esther, and so on.
  • When another child (or your own child) misbehaves, privately talk to your child about the unsightliness of disobedience. Focus on the wrong actions, not on the person. Ask your child to think of ways not to exhibit such behavior.
  • Sponsor or pray for children in other countries. Point out to your child that even though other people may look different on the outside, we all are God’s special creations.

How about you? How do you teach your daughter what true beauty looks like?

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Comments

  1. Andrea Cox says:

    Yet another one to treasure, Tricia!

    What about teaching little boys about being handsome? I think it’s the same thing as your saying with little girls. The boys need to know their virtues and inner self are what counts more than the outward appearance. It’s okay to be handsome outwardly, but we don’t need to focus on it and become obsessed and big-headed about it.

    Thanks for your wonderful thoughts. You always get me thinking!

    Blessings,
    Andrea

  2. Thanks, Tricia. My daughter is 10! And the pressure on her are incredible. This helps a lot!

  3. This is fantastic advice. Having 2 daughters, my husband and I fear the pressures of the world upon our girls.

  4. I am ever so guilty of affirming their outward beauty, yet forgetting to remind them that it’s the beauty that lies within that God cherishes foremost. Thank you for this beautiful reminder to be constantly pointing them to what God says about them….instead of focusing on what the world draws attention to.

  5. I love this post. Thank you. I tweeted it and am saving it for future reference.
    God has blessed us with a beautiful little girl.
    But I want her to know that beauty is more than what meets the eye.

  6. Thank you so much for this reminder. I found you on pinterest & will definitely be pinning this. I needed this reminder because I am very guilty of making sure my 6yr old feels beautiful & not concentrating on her inward beauty near as much. I guess coming from a past where I never felt pretty enough (my oldest sister was adopted from Korea & was always adored for her beauty & my younger sister so cute, skinny & petite) I’ve tried to make sure my daughter knows she’s beautiful. This reminder, though, was exactly what I needed. I will do better about reminding her that her inward beauty is what really matters to God.

    • So glad that we connected via Pinterest. Also, I completely understand Christy. I was an “ugly duckling” kids, and that stays for life, doesn’t it? I’m so thankful that God shows us our true beauty and heals those wounded places!

  7. I have a 13 yr old daughter, and I shudder when I think of what is “beautiful” at school these days! We’ve had long talks to discuss how true beauty comes from the inside and how you treat others. I hope it’s working. 😉 Great article!

  8. I bookmarked this for later and will pin as well so I can help spread these wise words with other moms! I have two daughters, 8 and 3. My 3 year old is the one who’s most interested in dresses and looking beautiful and crowns and princesses (even though the only princess movie she’s ever seen is Frozen).

    I’ve taken to commenting on anything kind she does for someone else as BEAUTIFUL and now when I ask her, “What is beautiful?” her response, is “KIND!” Now I see that this is only the beginning of the message I should be sharing with my girls.

    I love the depth you go in your words here and will start tomorrow with praying and speaking these words over both my daughters. Thank you!

  9. WOW just what I was searching for. Came here by searching for beauty

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