Have you ever sat back and thought about the last few compliments you’ve received? If they took place at work, it could have been due to the research and thought you put into a recent project.
Compliments about your appearance, however, may have felt a bit more hollow. It’s hard to receive praise over something so superficial.
These types of compliments are harder for women. Women are often judged on their looks. Just think about movies from the past few decades. If a woman was blonde and thin, she was viewed as a romantic interest. If she was a brunette who wore glasses, she was a sidekick/nerd. Since these stereotypes became so common, we started to believe them.
Even though we’ve come a long way in recognizing the fact that women come in all shapes and sizes, many people still use appearance as a way to categorize individuals. You might not think about it, but behavior like this can be extremely damaging to children. Working Mother reports that between the ages of 8 and 14, a girl’s self-confidence plummets by 30%. That’s an incredible drop.
Sure, kids will always suffer certain hardships as a part of growing up. But adults still need to do a better job at guiding young women in the right direction. That means we need to start offering compliments that have nothing to do with appearance. Girls need to know that they’re valued for so much more than what they look like.
Here are 11 compliments to give young women to remind them that they are far more than their appearance.
1. You always see the positive in things.
With all of the negative headlines out in the world, it’s often a struggle to get through the day without a feeling of impending doom. Girls who are positive — even if they don’t actively follow the news — deserve a bit of recognition. Making a point to compliment her on her positive thinking will show her that her words and actions matter.
2. You're one of the strongest girls I know.
Strength is more than physical — it’s also mental. Girls who are mentally strong can handle whatever life throws at them. A compliment like this also acknowledges any sort of hardships a young woman has had to overcome. Reminding a girl of her strength at a young age will encourage her to never stop fighting.
3. You're so good at maintaining strong friendships.
We all know that friendships come and go as we get older. In a psychological study on adolescent friendships, it was revealed that only 1% of the friendships we make in seventh grade are still intact after five years — and that’s without the pressures of college, work, and children in the mix. Telling a girl early on about how you appreciate the way she keeps in touch with her pals acknowledges both her effort and the fact that she’s a good friend.
4. It wouldn't be a family party without you.
If you’re complimenting a niece or younger cousin, it’s a nice way to make her feel like she’s at the same level as the adults in the room. Everyone loves feeling welcomed and included, especially at big family gatherings where there might not be a lot of other kids around.
5. Girls like you will change the world.
It’s a great feeling to know that someone out there thinks you’re making a difference. When someone tells a girl that she’s capable of making real change, she’ll have more confidence in her ability to do so. The world needs people who care, so identifying the change-makers out there early on is beneficial for all of us.
6. You're really kind.
Kindness is a wonderful trait. As a compliment, it shows that you feel at ease being around someone, and you appreciate the fact that she’s so loving and caring toward others. Parents who actively promote kindness to their daughters will have an easier time preventing school bullying, so it’s always something worth acknowledging.
7. You're so smart.
Being smart is one of the most cherished attributes of all. Smart women are making big changes in the world, and letting someone know that she’s of above-average intelligence will make her feel even more powerful. By telling a young girl that she’s smart, she’ll have more faith in her capabilities — and if you tell your teenage daughter that she’s smart, it shows you have faith in her decision making.
8. You're unique.
Some people may try to use “unique” as an insult, but it’s really a positive thing. Regardless of whom you pay this compliment to, you’re telling her that she has an unforgettable personality. If your daughter doesn’t think she fits in with the other girls at school, she might not find this compliment as empowering. However, all you need to do is remind her that her unique personality will pay off as she gets older — which it will.
9. Even when times are tough, you always come through.
Even kids have a lot on their plates these days. So when you recognize that they always fulfill their obligations, even if it’s just managing chores and homework, it’s a nice pat on the back for them. This is also a great compliment for busy moms. Women often take on a lot of the emotional burden, especially to maintain the household. Showing appreciation for that will go a long way.
10. You make me laugh.
People who have a healthy sense of humor get far in life. Telling your daughter that she has a good sense of humor (and laughing along with her jokes) will help build her confidence. That will only boost her social skills when she’s around her friends and classmates.
11. You make every day better.
Parents often feel this way about their kids, but sometimes their kids — especially their daughters — need to hear it. Girls can feel insignificant as they’re growing up, and having a loving and present parent by their side is essential. A compliment like this is rewarding for women of all ages, but it’s downright important for children.