Does your daughter put excessive value on her looks? Is she depressed because she's not gorgeous? How can you build character in your daughter with better values? Read how my friend and colleague, Claire Hatch, a Marriage Counseling Expert, helps her step-daughter choose brains over bimbos.
Jean: Claire, I've been reading Peggy Orenstein's book, Cinderella Ate My Daughter. In it she expresses concern about girls putting too much value on their looks. Your 15-year-old teenager has a 3.7 GPA and, although she takes care of her looks, she's not excessive. How did you get her to value brains over bimbos?
Claire: Her father, mother, and I have planted seeds about school and career.
Jean: Do you have some examples for our readers?
Claire: Sure. We make sure she understands:
1. College graduates usually make more money and have more choices about how to live their lives than high school graduates.
2. Kids that drop out of high school tend to be poor.
3. We tell her, "You have such expensive tastes. You'll need a really good job to pay for them."
4. We also do use a lot of "carrots" and they're not all about money. We have told her, "You'll learn about things in the world that might interest you that you would never have heard of without college. You'll have a more interesting life. You'll meet interesting people, maybe even lifelong friends."
Jean: Sounds like you're giving her a choice between a negative and positive vision.
Claire: Exactly! We also try to model helping others. When she was little she didn't understand my job as a counselor, so I told her, "I help people."
Jean: Have you seen any results?
Claire: Yes. She is very kind to her friends. She also volunteered to assist a kindergarten teacher near her high school.
Jean: What other ideas would you like to tell parents?
Claire: Find out what motivates your kids. I asked my step- daughter why she likes to get good grades.
Jean: What did she say?
Jean: What did she mean?
Claire: Good grades give her rewards like when her teachers tell other kids to go to my her for help when they don't understand a concept. I think you'd say her reward is prestige. She's also very competitive and won't let herself fall behind in class.
Jean: Is there any other advice you'd like to share with parents?
Claire: Yes. Take your child's ideas seriously. Be sincere and be a good role model too.
I left Claire thinking how simple and effectively she, her husband, and her step-daughter 's mother are teaching values that last. They're building character too.
You can read Claire's expert articles at her website http://www.clairehatch.com/ Sign up for Claire's Rock Solid eNewsletter too.
What do you think?
Here's a link to how little girls look in beauty pagents. http://bit.ly/e9fGwM
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With warm wishes,
Jean Tracy, MSS
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