Not only should we talk to our children about God’s definition of beauty, we must also teach them to recognize beauty’s counterfeit: the charm and outward beauty that is fleeting and deceitful (Prov. 31:30).
Our children are desperately in need of discernment. We must train them to recognize the false beauty messages of the world that assault them on a moment-by-moment basis.
This means, in age appropriate ways, we begin to talk to them about the unattractiveness of immodesty or vanity that they may observe and encounter. Our words should counteract and undercut our culture’s deceitful messages about physical beauty.
Finally, there are words that are better left unsaid. Drawing our children into negative dialogue about our appearance, “Do you think Mommy looks fat in this dress?” “Mommy wishes she was young and pretty like you,” etc., will only give ungodly shape to their developing beliefs about beauty.
Commenting about others to them, “Can you believe what she was wearing?” or “That girl really needs to lose some weight,” is not only unkind but teaches our children to judge others based on outward appearance.
Not only do we need to be careful how we speak to our children about beauty, we also must be careful how we speak in front of them, even when we think they aren’t paying attention. Little children have big ears. Conversations with our husband, with a girlfriend, or mutterings to ourselves that communicate an unbiblical message about beauty can all make an outsized impression on our children.
Also, we do not serve our daughters by dropping subtle hints (which are never as subtle as we think) about their appearance. If we observe that our daughter needs to change her eating habits or care for her appearance in a more God-glorifying manner, then we can provide practical diet help or graciously show her how Scripture should influence her beauty pursuit. But nagging and carping will only stoke discouragement or resentment.
By contrast, as our daughters grow older, humble and age-appropriate admission of our own struggles with beauty can go a long way toward helping them make progress in their own pursuit of biblical beauty. As we help our daughters see how we are seeking to apply God’s truth, we can impart to our daughters the discernment and conviction they need.
Up Next: Guarding Our Children for Beauty