I'm going to have to be controversial and argue with the article on Huffpo about how to talk to little girls
. Not that I disapprove of talking to kids of all ages about their favorite books, it's one of my favorite subjects.
However, girls do not worry about losing weight and wearing make-up because we tell them how cute they are when they are five. Suddenly we're making it the problem of every well meaning visitor to the house that girls become anorexic when they are teens. Maybe better to teach a little girl that she doesn't have to choose between picking the perfect outfit to shine at the dinner party and talking about books while she's there?
I beg to argue that telling a five year old her dress is fabulous is unlikely to make her think she needs to lose weight. However, what wasn't in this story of the dinner party was the conversation between the adult women. All too often women at tables everywhere make comments about that cupcake adding 15 pounds to their thighs, what new diet they're on, who had what kind of plastic surgery done, what things about themselves they don't like. All too often women at tables everywhere put down their own accomplishments and interests. Kids aren't dumb, they know we have a script when we talk to them. But they want to be us when they grow up. So if we muse we need to lose that last 5 pounds because our belly is protruding...well, that five year old with the adorable baby fat that's going to melt off her in a year or so is going to notice that her belly protrudes and want to lose it just like Mom. Or cool Aunt Some_day. Or big sister Becky.
Girls don't believe their families when told they are beautiful, because mom and dad are supposed
to say that. They do, however, notice when we find other things beautiful. Instead of ignoring her carefully selected outfit, it would do our girls a world more good to make comments to our friends in earshot about how ugly that magazine made that actress look when they photoshopped her, how she was so much prettier in her first movie before she lost all that weight, or how crazy that model looked after her plastic surgery, "how sad." Then she will think that big people don't see those things as beautiful, because we don't, instead of just thinking we're trying to sell her something we know isn't true.
So, talk to little girls in any way you think will build their self-esteem. But more importantly, pay attention to the way you talk to her mother and sister, your best friend, or the neighbor lady, because she's listening, and she's learning how to be as cool as you.