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I Feel Ugly

Question:

Hi, My almost 7yo daughter recently told me she feels ugly and she does not think she is pretty. She is a particularly attractive child. She says she has felt this way for a while. According to her nothing has happened, nobody has said anything to her, etc. How can I help her to feel better about herself. Other than this new revelation she is a normal, happy child.

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Answer:

You are presenting a very puzzling but interesting question. Here, you have this very attractive 7 year old child who now believes she is ugly. Why?

First, let me suggest that you not rely on your daughter saying that nothing happened. It is always a good idea to go to school and talk with her teachers to learn if anything might have happened, regardless of how small or insignificant. For example, you could ask if how she is getting along with the other children? How is she behaving in class? Have the teachers noticed any changes in her behavior since the start of the school year?

Second, is this the very first time your daughter mentioning feeling ugly? If this was the only time, I would urge you to dismiss it. However, if the same comment has come up many times, it is more indicative of a potential problem.

Third, how is your child sleeping at night? If there are no sleep disturbances it is a good indication that all is well.

Fourth, is she reluctant to go to school is that reluctance new? If the answers to both are yes, then something is happening at school, on the school bus or during recess.

Fifth, please remember that children can be very cruel and tease one another. It is possible that another girl or girls, jealous of how attractive she is, might have called her "ugly."

Sixth, I hope you are screening what she watches on television. Children are very impressionable. If she is comparing herself to some actess who she views as pretty it could give rise to this type of thing.

I would urge you to not take this seriously if it happened once or twice. Children can come up with "funny ideas." Be observant and if you see this continuing or her behavior changing in ways that are stessful and worrisome, including her sleep, then you may need to go to school and consult a child psychologist.

Best of Luck

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