I (F39) have a very insecure daughter (F14) who has a depressingly unhealthy obsession with her looks. She often avoids mirrors and pictures because her mood instantly drains when she sees herself.
She constantly asks her father and me if we think she's pretty and we always tell her the same thing, that she's a beautiful girl inside and out.
As I understand how most teenage girls are with their body image as I was one at some point myself, my daughter's vanity is not only becoming exhausting to those around her, but I fear it's causing her to slowly lose herself.
Yesterday, I decided to sit her down to chat with her about this, to discuss what's bothering her, and to see if she's willing to visit a therapist. She told me she didn't want to talk about it, but as her mother, of course, I'm going to be worried about her, so I insisted. She finally agreed.
A few minutes into this conversation, she asked exactly this, "Mom, I want you to be completely honest with me. That means no sugarcoating. The kids at my school think I'm ugly and say I look like a bird because I have a big nose. Do you really think I'm beautiful, or are you just lying?"
I'm an honest person, so I gave her the most honest answer I had. I told her she was average-looking like most people in the world are, and that it's not a bad thing to have an average appearance.
She immediately got up and left without saying a word and just went into her room for the rest of the night.
Today, she has been cold and distant, and I think I upset her, which wasn't my intention at all. AITA?
Here's what the commenters thought.
Of course YTA. "I'm an honest person" is a weird reason to sit a child down and essentially confirm, in her mind, that you are liars and she is as ugly as the other kids say she is
Look. I get why people harp on “honesty” I guess. But this isn’t one of your girlfriends asking you for your honest opinion on whether she could be a supermodel.
It’s not even your kid asking if you think he’s smart enough to get into Yale.
This is your child asking if you think she’s beautiful while she’s being bullied for being ugly to the point where she can’t look in a mirror. I’m not changing my mind about it
Info: What are you going to do now that you know she's being bullied? Bullied so bad that she literally avoids mirrors and is clearly depressed.
YTA - Are you “Kate” from yesterday’s post by any chance?
What is it with parents thinking it’s okay to tell their kids they’re not attractive?
Like we all know how a lot of relatives exaggerate how brilliant/charming/attractive we are. We take it with a pinch of salt. But if we ask, we’re asking you because we know we’ll get that answer. We need affirmation.
You know she’s insecure, so why make her more insecure. You are not a therapist, do not try to be. Be a mum.
YTA she’s showing serious MH signs; taking her to a psychiatrist should already be in the works… not you forcing a discussion you clearly don’t have the skills to navigate.
You just reinforced everything the bullies are saying to her.
Congratulations, you probably just created a negative core memory for your daughter. She’s probably going to carry your words around with her for life. YTA
She is a teenager and these times are vital for self esteem. You essentially told her she was plain. You lie to her even if she is.
This one is probably going to stick for life.
I about barf daily reading about the “ parenting” skills of people.
How can people be so obtuse?
Why the hell do you have kids, if you aren’t going to be their biggest supporter?
There is always something beautiful about kids, especially your own. Do you think they really want to be told that they are just mediocre and that’s ok, because most people are?
She’s 14, kids go through a lot of changes before maturity. Many kids who were super awkward as teens are knockouts ten yrs later.
You help them grow their confidence, not knock it down.
YTA. You can’t possibly be so dense that you don’t understand that no amount of you saying you are being honest is going to make her believe you are really being totally honest.
She thinks you will automatically overrate her because you are her mom.
So, if your overrating calls her “average”, she now believes you think she is ugly and the kids at school are right.
No. You're not an honest person. For years you've told her she's beautiful and now you're saying "i was lying. You're just average". She will now believe you're still lying to cover that she is ugly.
YTA - You just said you and her father always tell her she is beautiful inside and out. Kudos to you for being an honest person, but this was not the right answer. You had the right answer all along and should’ve told her the same thing, not confirmed her fears.
"Man, these therapists' jobs are too easy. I'm gonna make them work!"
-- OP, probably