As a parent, we must do our best to protect our children from the influence of our culture’s false and destructive messages about beauty. But how? Here are a few suggestions:
Guard their heroes.
Children collect heroes: people or characters they want to be like. This means that we as parents must watch over and wisely supervise our children’s affections. Who are our child’s heroes? Who do they admire and try to imitate? Often, children’s first heroes are the characters they see on television or the toys they play with. As they grow older, they may look to athletes, actors, or musicians. These personalities can shape the development of their desires and beliefs in profound ways.
As our children identify with these “heroes”—wanting to dress like them, talk like them, be like them—they imbibe the messages about beauty that these characters display. Consider: what do the TV, music, and toys you allow in your home say about the beauty of God and the inner beauty he requires? Do the characters in your children’s favorite television shows flaunt their immodesty or vanity? Do the toys they play with promote an ungodly perspective of physical beauty? As parents, let’s wisely help our children choose their heroes.
Guard their childhood.
Children are beautiful, largely because they don’t know it yet. A young girl is fascinated by the world, not trying to fascinate others with how she looks. This lack of self-awareness is a gift from God and meant to be enjoyed. But sometimes, as parents, we prematurely interrupt our daughters’ blissful ignorance by paying excessive attention to how they look.
Let’s seek to guard our daughters’ childhood instead of following the cultural trend to prematurely rush young girls into womanhood. Be discerning about your daughter’s unique temptations to vanity and self-focus. Intentionally limit the time, money, and conversation you spend (or allow them to spend!) on their appearance. If necessary, consider delaying certain beauty enhancements such as jewelry or cosmetics. Focus their attention on God and others. Start out as you mean for them to go on.
Guard their friendships.
True friends teach us to love true beauty. Conversely, vain and self-focused friends may encourage those sinful tendencies already at work in our hearts. A wise mother will carefully watch over her daughter’s friendships. Consider: what do your daughter and her friends talk about most when they are together? What are their favorite hobbies and activities? Does time with friends make her more consumed with herself, with the latest styles, with being physically beautiful? Let’s help our daughters choose friends wisely and to become the kind of friend who influences others to serve and to obey God. This may mean limiting the time two girls spend together, or taking a more proactive role in choosing their activities when they are together.
As moms we should seek to create a culture of friendship between our daughter and her friends that promotes and cultivates true beauty. Friendships that are built around trusting God and doing good works will help our daughters grow up to be truly beautiful.