All too often, I hear parents telling their daughters that they are perfect. While I am all for boosting a young girl’s self-confidence and self-esteem, I don't believe this is the correct way to do it.
On the contrary, I think using the word “perfect” to describe our daughters is doing more harm than good.
It’s a Lie
I’m just going to come right out and say it. Absolutely nobody is perfect, not even bright Betty who gets straight A’s on all of her report cards. She may earn perfect test scores, but Betty herself is not perfect. Praising our daughters for a job well done is most definitely encouraged, especially when it is something they worked very hard for, but it still doesn’t merit being called “perfect.” There is a huge difference between saying “You got a perfect test score” and “You are perfect.”
There is a huge difference between saying 'You got a perfect test score' and 'You are perfect.'
It Can Yield Complacency
On a number of occasions, I have heard parents tell their young child that their drawing is perfect. But when I take a closer look, I see that the ballerina little Grace drew has arms that are not in proportion. This is to be expected for a six-year old, and her drawing is still very beautiful in my eyes; however, by telling Grace that her drawing is perfect, Grace now has no desire to try to improve her drawing skills since she believes she is a perfect artist.
The same applies to calling our daughters “perfect.” If they believe they are already perfect, they may have no desire to become kinder or smarter. With nothing to strive for and no reason to better themselves, I fear our daughters will develop a strong sense of entitlement and have a very skewed view of the world.
If they believe they are already perfect, they may have no desire to become kinder or smarter.
It Produces Unrealistic Expectations
People are bound to make mistakes. This is simply a part of life; we are human. But we learn life lessons and grow from our mistakes. Little girls who are told they are “perfect” by their parents are going to be in for a shocker when they enter the real world and realize that they actually aren’t perfect.
When they don’t get the lead in the play or make the soccer team, they are not going to know how to deal with their feelings of sadness, disappointment, and anger. Our daughters deserve better from us, and it is our job to prepare them for the many disappointments they will face in life, whether we like it or not. I know if we could take their pain away, we would. Unfortunately, that is just not reality, and we need to make sure they will be ready to face any challenges that come their way.
Our daughters deserve better from us, and it is our job to prepare them for the many disappointments they will face in life, whether we like it or not.
By all means, compliment your daughter and even deliberately have her catch you boasting about her to family and friends. Let her know how proud you are of her and all of her great accomplishments. Frame her artwork, post that test she got an A on at the top of the refrigerator, and take her out for ice cream to celebrate her first ballet recital. Do it all. Fill her bucket with words of love, support, and encouragement.
Like I said, no one is perfect. Not you. Not me. Nobody. Instead of filling girls’ heads with this notion that they are perfect, let’s focus on the truth. They are beautiful on the inside and outside and are all capable of extraordinary things. They don’t need to be perfect. They just need to be themselves.