Q&A: Navigating teen daughter’s obsession with beauty

Q: Our 14-year-old daughter has recently become obsessed with her appearance. She’ll practically lock herself in her bedroom or bathroom until she gets her hair, makeup, and clothes perfect. What can we do as her parents to help her keep her perspective?

A: It’s no secret that teens today – and especially girls – are pressured from all directions about their appearance. Social media only makes it worse. So you want to be proactive about helping your daughter balance her desire for outer beauty with her inner self-confidence.

Many parents don’t have a plan. Mum says to Dad, “You need to talk to her.” And Dad says to Mum, “You’re a woman. This is your territory.” But your teenage daughter needs to hear that she’s beautiful from both of you – frequently. Tell her she’s beautiful. Fill her soul with words of affirmation that bring her heart to life.

But just as important as what your daughter hears from you is what she sees from you. Mum, she’ll watch how much emphasis you place on outer beauty and how positively or negatively you talk about yourself. Dad, your daughter will notice how you treat women. If she sees you objectifying women, she may believe it’s okay for men to treat her the same way.

Here’s what we suggest: Don’t over-emphasise your daughter’s outer beauty or her inner beauty. Address her as a whole person. Teach her that she’s a unique human being with a body, a soul, and a spirit. Help her to balance what she sees in the mirror and who she is on the inside. That’s how she’ll discover genuine happiness.

© 2018 Focus on the Family.  All rights reserved.  Used by permission.

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