Raising a strong, confident daughter can be hard in today’s world. But there are things you can do to help her feel good about herself and follow her dreams, in spite of the fact that she really drew the short straw, genetically speaking. Here are some tips to help your daughter love herself even though she got Greg’s nose:
1. Foster her love of reading. Books promote independence and an acceptance of people’s differences, and spending time reading will help your daughter avoid mirrors and going outside. And this one is most important, cause she better develop some other strengths to distract from that nose of hers. Suggest reading books like The Hunchback of Notre Dame, and she’ll soon learn that having Greg’s enormous nose isn’t such a big deal when you really think about it.
2. Help her to have positive social experiences. There is a well-established link between low self-esteem and social isolation. Help your daughter to socialize in situations where others will accept her, like at a masked ball, a haunted house, or a meeting of the American Ornithologists’ Union.
3. Encourage her to have a sense of humor. It really is true that laughter is the best medicine, especially for girls with a nearly 1:1 nose-to-face ratio. Let’s just hope she got Greg’s overcompensating sense of humor.
4. Get her involved in team sports. Studies overwhelmingly suggest that playing sports can contribute to girls’ self-esteem. The added muscle strength will help to keep her head from constantly slumping forward under all that weight. Greg was a varsity athlete, so hopefully she inherited something more than that curse of a nose.
5. Introduce her to positive role models. Young people often don’t realize that their own struggles were shared by some of history’s most powerful figures, like Abraham Lincoln, Barbra Streisand, and velociraptors. Greg always did look kind of like a velociraptor.
6. Lead by example. A mother is a daughter’s number-one influence when it comes to body image, so it is important to model the kind of self-acceptance you’d like to see in her. Try taping a banana to your nose and explain that you don’t mind looking like Pinocchio telling a fib into a funhouse mirror, because you know that what matters is on the inside. Even if you know that’s only sort of true.
7. Give her unconditional love. At the end of the day, just make sure your little girl knows that even though she looks like Saul Bellow and a toucan had a baby who’s been in one too many fistfights, in your eyes she’ll always be beautiful. At least until she gets your mother-in-law’s jowls.