Parents shouldn’t tell their children they’re beautiful, mother argues

Compliments can be contentious at the best of times, particularly if you’re blessed with the finely-honed trait of British modesty.

However, when it comes to children, the politics surrounding giving and receiving compliments become more complicated, with some parents arguing that one should never tell a child they are beautiful as it places too much value on looks.

Debating the topic on ITV’s This Morning, mother-of-two Anna Wharton said she doesn’t compliment her daughter’s appearance because she thinks it might have harmful consequences, such as instilling the idea that beauty is a woman’s “crowning achievement”.

But parenting expert and mother-of-four Liz Fraser disagreed and claimed that parents are “too frightened” to pay their children compliments.

She also pointed out that calling someone “beautiful” is about appreciating more than just someone’s looks.

“I have always told them [my children], at the right moment, ‘you're beautiful, you look really, really nice’. Beautiful is not the same as good looking,” she told hosts Ruth Langsford and Eamonn Holmes.

“Beautiful is about you the person, about the character who you are. We're too frightened to say positive things about looks these days.”

Fraser explained that parents are afraid that by complimenting their young daughters, they will learn to equate the way they look with self-worth, which she argues “isn’t the case at all”.

She continued to claim that paying compliments is fundamental to building a child’s confidence and that this should be prioritised.

Wharton, on the other hand, argued that a child’s looks “shouldn’t be the main focus”, adding that this will inevitably lead to disappointment once they reach a certain age.

“Comparison is the thief of joy,” she continued, “I'm not saying do not tell your children they're pretty. I'm saying, can we have some balance.”

The majority of viewers empathised with Fraser’s argument, sharing their own experiences of being complimented as children on social media and how it benefited them.

“I love my inner beauty and my looks, this was taught to me by my father, so I think it’s very important to tell your children they’re beautiful,” one person wrote on Twitter.

“'My daughter is beautiful to me, to her dad & she should class herself as beautiful too,” added another.

“We are all about empowering one another and we are beautiful in our own unique ways so why the hell not?”