My daughter is just over two years old and her favorite thing to do is whatever I am currently doing. Just the other day, we were in the kitchen together; she was working on her coloring pages as I cooked. I am not a natural at cooking. So, as I became frustrated, I grumbled, “Ugh! Seriously?! This is just ridiculous,” and threw my hands up. Not even 30 seconds passed before I heard my sweet girl exclaim, “This is ridiculous!” I watched as she threw her crayon onto the counter as if she were suddenly disgusted with the color yellow.
Moms, our daughters learn from us. They repeat what we say, and they mirror what we do. So even when it’s hard to love or even like ourselves, we need to be cautious about what we say and do in front of our daughters. These 4 things a mother should never say to her daughter can be especially damaging. Maybe you remember your own mother saying them.
1. “I need to go on a diet.”
Even though off-handed comments about a swimsuit that cuts into your hips or jeans that are too tight seem harmless, they could leave your daughter discouraged to find she no longer fits into her favorite pair of shorts (because she is growing!). If you are going to make lifestyle changes that involve cleaner eating and exercising, make overall health the primary focus. Let your daughter know you are eating well and working out in order to be a happy, healthy mom for your family. Explain to her that you want to take care of the body God gave to you, not change it.
2. “I can’t leave the house without makeup.”
First of all, makeup is not a bad thing! I allow my daughter to play with my makeup as she watches me get ready for the day. Her interest in wanting to wear it is perfectly OK. However, I try to be careful about what I say about wearing it. It is true we use makeup to feel prettier and confident and that is not a problem. The problem is when we are afraid to let others see us without makeup because of what they might think of us. Makeup should enhance your features, not function as a mask to hide yourself.
3. “I am not smart enough.”
Hey, we’ve all been bested by elementary school math. If it hasn’t happened to you yet, just wait. But instead of saying, “I don’t get it. Apparently, I’m not smart enough to do fifth-grade math,” try something like, “I don’t know the answer, but I’m going to try to figure it out with you.” Being a grown-up is no excuse for not having a growth mindset. Our daughters will listen and emulate our negative or positive thinking.
4. “I wish I could do that.”
I have a close friend who is an amazing cook. And as I already said, I am no chef! Of course, I’d love to be able to cook gourmet meals effortlessly like her, but I have to be careful tiptoeing the line of discontent. If my daughter were to hear me say something like, “Why can’t I cook like she can?” she would most definitely sense discontent. This is among the kinds of things a mother should never say to her daughter. Words like these say, “I want to be less like me and more like her” and they rub off on our girls. Let’s be intentional about highlighting our “bright spots” for our daughters, so they learn to do the same!
What are some other things a mother should never say to her daughter?