A mother-of-two has revealed she’s worried her eldest daughter is going to notice that her ‘shallow’ family think her younger sister is more attractive.
Taking to Mumsnet, the anonymous woman, believed to be from the UK, explained that her 20-month-old baby is often told how pretty she is – while the three-year-old is present.
‘We were at a family party yesterday and three people commented at different times and two of those times my older DD was present,’ she wrote. ‘I’m worried she’s starting to notice and I’m not sure how to handle it.’
Concerned how it will impact her daughter as she grows older, the frustrated mother then asked the social forum for advice.
‘Keep with the “what a pair of cuties, I agree” statements and it will work itself out,’ penned one, while another suggested:
‘Ask them to stop it? Surely you can tell your family that it’s upsetting for your eldest to see and hear it. With the random strangers, just respond with “I know both my children are beautiful/perfect.”‘
In the emotional post, the mother-of-two, who admitted it’s really starting to ‘rub her up the wrong way,’ continued: ‘Last week her little sister was pretending to talk to her nana on an imaginary phone.’
‘I thought it was adorable and I did say “oh you’re so cute” and DD1 came running out of the living room to exclaim “I’m cute too!” – which of course I told her she was.’
‘Generally I try hard to not comment on personal appearance, instead complimenting them on being clever/funny/kind, but I fear it’s only a matter of time before they realise that society ranks girls on their appearance more than any other attribute and this saddens me.’
Several mothers who have encountered similar issues when it comes to their own children shared their experiences, too.
‘I hear you,’ wrote one. ‘I’ve got a five-year-old boy and a two-year-old girl and loads of people comment on how cute, sweet, adorable she is. I know my son will be hearing this.’
‘I make sure I give my son compliments all the time, but I do try to avoid commenting on children’s appearance in general.’
Meanwhile, another penned: ‘I have a slightly similar issue with my non-identical twin boys as one is always described as handsome.’
‘I make ever effort to describe all of my children in terms not related to looks….clever/smart/kind/generous/loving. A good start is a cheerful “thank you, I am blessed with two beautiful natured, loving daughters.’
However, a different user argued that the ‘pretty’ daughter shouldn’t be ‘dressed down’ to make her more equal to her sister.
‘I’d never expect a pretty or talented child to hide their light under a bushel just because a sibling gets less attention,’ she explained. ‘That’s very unfair and will breed resentment.’
‘I had a friend who was resentful of me always being the one who was hit on so she’d ask me to dress down. Unsurprisingly we’re no longer friends.’
Speaking from experience, another warned to not overcompensate by making more fuss of the eldest and never mentioning looks to the younger one.
‘My mother did this, she did it with the best of intentions but I grew up thinking my older sibling was the most amazing human to grace the planet and thought nothing of myself,’ she wrote.
‘My confidence was so low, probably due to my parents never complimenting me because they were worried about damaging my siblings feelings.’