At my first meet, I noticed a boy who was clearly very shy. He stood, in his baggy sweatpants, his shoulders hunched, making eye contact with no one, his body language all awkwardness.
And then he stripped down to swim.
Not to sound like a dirty old woman, but this boy had the body of an Adonis, of Michelangelo’s David, of a Ralph Lauren model.
And he didn’t realize it.
I’ve heard parents say they don’t ever tell their children they are good-looking or refer to appearance at all because they don’t want to their kids to think that looks matter and then become anxious about them. Apparently, their theory is, “If I tell my children they are good-looking, then they will worry that they are not.” This makes no sense to me.
Nor does the idea that, if parents don’t talk about appearance, then appearance won’t matter. That ship sailed thousands upon thousands of years ago. (See Adonis, above.)
Nope, I think parents need to act as a counterweight to all the buffeting and doubt and bad ideas children are going to get from other sources.
I tell my kids they are good-looking. I tell them about their fabulous features, like my daughter’s movie-star hair.
What I don’t do is comment negatively on their appearance. And I am not after them to “do” anything with their looks. (That movie-star hair is generally up in a pony tail.)
Because the most attractive thing in the world is confidence.
And confident people can enjoy physical attractiveness, theirs and other people’s – which is what I wish for all kids, including that young Adonis.