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38carrots
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A friend of a friend always greets my kids with, "Hi, beautiful." Or "Hi, aren't you beautiful?" And then as we are sitting talking at a playground, she'd say to any parent who passes by with their kid, "Isn't s/he beautiuful?"

 

I tell my kids they are beautiful all the time, but when she says it is just rubs me the wrong way. I *know* she means well. But I can barely stand it. And often she'd say this about a child who is obviously not looking their best--like with a runny nose. Which makes me think that either she is not sincere, or she really looks through the runny nose and sees the inner beauty ;-).

 

Would it bother you? Why and why not?

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When it is hay fever season, lots of kids have runny noses. They still look adorable with their red noses.

 

I have many relatives that thinks all kids are adorable. My extended family doesn't use the word beautiful but hubby's side does. They use it with the tone of endearment so it doesn't made us feel weird. Besides their kids are all at least teens so they probably miss the time when their kids were younger.

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I think all children are beautiful, lol. For real. I do this. I mean it. I told a couple of kids in the restaurant last week and the mom was obviously frustrated with her kids and was like, "they are not that cute". Well, her kids are stinking adorable on any scale, lol.

 

Your friend probably just likes kids.

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Some people genuinely appreciate children more than others.  They sincerely believe they look beautiful even when they're not photo ready and perfect looking.  It doesn't diminish your child's beauty for her to think other kids are beautiful even if you don't think they are.  It also doesn't maker her a liar.  I'd take it as a compliment and not overthink it into a negative thing.  Most people love their own children, but not everyone is really a kid person.  It sounds like your friend might be.  Honestly, I think your reaction is odder than her randomly complimenting cute kids.  I mean, it's not hard to see something beautiful about a child whether its an overall aesthetic, a single striking feature, or a certain spark about their attitude.  Not everyone thinks "beautiful" means ready to pose for a magazine.  That's a pretty limiting definition. 

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Similar situation, not exactly beauty, but yeah, it rubs me the wrong way. My kid is too young and self assured to care yet, but I do worry that it will affect him later as his differences are more pronounced. Or maybe they'll be less pronounced..or less obvious at least. I'm starting to cringe when he's around certain people because they praise one thing alone that is just a slice of who he is.

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My sister does that, too.  I assume it is just a kind greeting and that she doesn't really feel my kids are good-looking.  I think it's well-intended and harmless.  My kids have her pegged by her actions anyway.  :P  She loves kids, but doesn't have a lot of tolerance for them.  My kids tend to be on their guard around her regardless of any compliments she pays.

 

I did tell her 4yo "you're looking beautiful today" the last time I saw her.  It was her sister's birthday and she was just coming off a tough therapy session and I felt she could use a wee boost.  She was smiling and sweet at that moment, and what could be more beautiful than that anyway?

 

Normally I don't think I go around randomly calling kids beautiful or pretty.  If I do, it's without thinking.

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Some people genuinely appreciate children more than others.  They sincerely believe they look beautiful even when they're not photo ready and perfect looking.  It doesn't diminish your child's beauty for her to think other kids are beautiful even if you don't think they are.  It also doesn't maker her a liar.  I'd take it as a compliment and not overthink it into a negative thing.  Most people love their own children, but not everyone is really a kid person.  It sounds like your friend might be.  Honestly, I think your reaction is odder than her randomly complimenting cute kids.  I mean, it's not hard to see something beautiful about a child whether its an overall aesthetic, a single striking feature, or a certain spark about their attitude.  Not everyone thinks "beautiful" means ready to pose for a magazine.  That's a pretty limiting definition. 

 

I think you read a little bit too much into my post. It never occurred to me to think that her compliments diminish my child's beauty?? And I too do think that all children are beautiful and it is not about a runny nose.

 

My problem is with the actual comments. Maybe it stems from the fact that my own children do not like her comments? They find them intrusive and forceful. She makes them self-conscious.

 

I don't know how to descrive her comments, but they seem to interrupt the flow? Or maybe they seem a little bit too intimate to me, like sort of out of context? A child would be walking by, and she'd say, "Oh, you are so beautiful." Now that I think about it, I don't think I've ever seen a child react positively to her comments. They all seem to be a bit puzzled and awkward, and move away.

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This kind of thing has always bothered me too. I don't think people would do this to an adult, right?  Why is it ok to draw attention to a child like that.  I especially don't like it when there are 2+ siblings together and someone goes on and on about one of them.  I think it's fine to say some thing in passing when a child is dressed up "What a lovely dress!".  I think a grandma type can be wistful and sweet and say something like "what adorable children".   But drawing attention to the looks of a child is kind of creepy and intrusive, especially from a stranger.  And I still call my 11 and 15 year olds cute and adorable regularly. 

 

If it's an actual term of endearment from someone who knows your child well, I think that CAN be ok.  It depends on the relationship overall.  I personally hope my kids feel good about how they look and who they are.  But as someone who saw too much emphasis on looks and body type growing up, I'm (possibly overly) sensitive to too much.  Both my kids have had cute and less cute phases. 

Edited by WoolySocks
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I know some people who have absolutely beautiful children.  I mean like in the top 0.01% beautiful.  I am having a hard time understanding why it would be wrong to say so.  It seems like just another thing we have to walk on eggshells around.

 

FTR I also say encouraging things about other traits.  Like if a little kid is working diligently at something, I will say "what a hard worker," or if a child is talking like someone much older I'll say "she is very bright."  It just seems like a friendly and supportive thing to do.

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This kind of thing has always bothered me too. I don't think people would do this to an adult, right?  Why is it ok to draw attention to a child like that.  I especially don't like it when there are 2+ siblings together and someone goes on and on about one of them.  I think it's fine to say some thing in passing when a child is dressed up "What a lovely dress!".  I think a grandma type can be wistful and sweet and say something like "what adorable children".   But drawing attention to the looks of a child is kind of creepy and intrusive, especially from a stranger.  And I still call my 11 and 15 year olds cute and adorable regularly. 

 

If it's an actual term of endearment from someone who knows your child well, I think that CAN be ok.  It depends on the relationship overall.  I personally hope my kids feel good about how they look and who they are.  But as someone who saw too much emphasis on looks and body type growing up, I'm (possibly overly) sensitive to too much.  Both my kids have had cute and less cute phases. 

 

Yeah, I think you are into something. One wouldn't do this to an adult. It's creepy. This is how I too feel, that it is intrusive and is drawing attention to the looks.

 

Maybe it is also context dependent. If a little girl (or boy) is obviously enjoying a new hair style or a new dress, I'd be more comfortable if someone said, "You are beautiful." But if a child is running around, focused on something else, and a stranger interrupts the flow of their activity by telling them they are beautiful, it seems somehow out of context. I don't see how that's positive.

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I don't say things like that to an adult because people might think things that nobody would (hopefully) think in the case of a child.

 

If I told a woman or a guy that their looks were extraordinary, they would probably think I was hitting on them or just generally looney toons or maybe trying to scam them.  :P

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My middle child especially is always told how gorgeous he is and it embarrasses him. It's usually not just an offhand comment but the person goes into detail about his beautiful hair, or the color of his skin, or the shape and color of his eyes. It gets awkward for me too, especially when they say things in front of him like "how could you ever say no to him," etc. As if being attractive is the ticket to getting to do what you want in life.

My other two get told how cute they are, and that doesn't bother me or them. It's more the manner, delivery, and detail of the comments for my middle that gets strange.

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My middle child especially is always told how gorgeous he is and it embarrasses him. It's usually not just an offhand comment but the person goes into detail about his beautiful hair, or the color of his skin, or the shape and color of his eyes. It gets awkward for me too, especially when they say things in front of him like "how could you ever say no to him," etc. As if being attractive is the ticket to getting to do what you want in life.

My other two get told how cute they are, and that doesn't bother me or them. It's more the manner, delivery, and detail of the comments for my middle that gets strange.

:iagree: This is the kind of thing I'm talking about.  Getting very specific about something in a child's appearance crosses a line.  And you know what?  Most kids that have distinctively good lucks have gotten a million of these comments and it just gets old.  I don't even think my kids are super awesome looking but they have been chosen for some unique performance opportunities.  My dd when she was younger got SO many comments about her eyes and she had a ton of hair as a baby.   

 

Another example of gross - when my daughter was 9, a male acquaintance said to DH about DD "you better be ready to lock her up in a few years".  Ewww dude .... no, you don't get to say that about my 9 year old.   This is the kind of stuff people wouldn't say to an adult. 

 

To me hearing repeated compliments about an inborn trait is like going on and on about height or IQ.  It just is what it is.  At best it's annoying and at worst, a kid could becoming a praise junkie and could be set up for a fall if they have an awkward adolescence and all those comments stop.  And I do think this kind of talk in front of sibs or peers is especially obnoxious. 

 

I compliment on STUFF regularly "you look nice today!" "I love that skirt" "I wish I could have princess Leia cinnamon buns like you!" :lol:

 

Edited by WoolySocks
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Yeah, I think you are into something. One wouldn't do this to an adult. It's creepy. This is how I too feel, that it is intrusive and is drawing attention to the looks.

 

Maybe it is also context dependent. If a little girl (or boy) is obviously enjoying a new hair style or a new dress, I'd be more comfortable if someone said, "You are beautiful." But if a child is running around, focused on something else, and a stranger interrupts the flow of their activity by telling them they are beautiful, it seems somehow out of context. I don't see how that's positive.

I think it all depends on the delivery. I was thinking it was perfectly normal to tell a kid she's beautiful, but then you said that all of the kids -- and not even just yours -- are uncomfortable around her. If that's the case, maybe there really is something sort of creepy about the woman and I can understand why it would bug you.

 

As far as it happening to adults, though, I have to say that my mom was one of those truly striking women and people used to approach her all the time to comment on how beautiful her skin, eyes, and hair were, and how elegant she looked. I remember it happening from when I was a little kid until she was around 80. People just noticed her. It seemed perfectly normal to me because it was the norm and Mom always accepted compliments very graciously so it never seemed weird at all. My dad, on the other hand, was always getting hit on by women and they were very obvious about it so that was different. But Dad was used to it, too, so he had this great way of being polite and acting like he didn't have a clue that they were being anything but friendly. Often, he would mention Mom, but that wasn't always as much of a deterrent as you might think. :glare:

 

Apparently that whole "stop you on the street to tell you how gorgeous you are" thing must skip a generation or something, though, because whenever someone stops me on the street, it's to ask me for directions or to panhandle for money. ;)

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I see.  Saying "she is beautiful" is one thing, going on about it in detail is another.

 

FTR I would not compliment just one sibling either.  The family I mentioned with beautiful children - I will say "you have such beautiful children," something I don't just say to everyone.  I wouldn't say "especially your golden-haired daughter."  :P

 

Also I would normally say this to the parents in (or outside of) the child's presence.  I would never go chase down a kid and say she was beautiful.  That would feel very creepy to me.  (Close family excepted of course.)

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Now you have me thinking.  There is this family that I used to babysit for before I had kids.  Their second daughter had something really special about her.  It wasn't "beauty."  I was never really sure how to articulate it, but I would say she had a certain light inside her.  Maybe they found that creepy.  Come to find out she had some unique traits.  I don't hang around them any more, so I don't know if she still has that "light," but she has some troublesome diagnoses.  So I guess that is why I noticed something different about her - which nobody else realized until much later.  I don't know if they found my comments annoying or not at the time.  Probably so.  :P

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A friend of a friend always greets my kids with, "Hi, beautiful." Or "Hi, aren't you beautiful?" And then as we are sitting talking at a playground, she'd say to any parent who passes by with their kid, "Isn't s/he beautiuful?"

 

I tell my kids they are beautiful all the time, but when she says it is just rubs me the wrong way. I *know* she means well. But I can barely stand it. And often she'd say this about a child who is obviously not looking their best--like with a runny nose. Which makes me think that either she is not sincere, or she really looks through the runny nose and sees the inner beauty ;-).

 

Would it bother you? Why and why not?

 

 

I do this all the time - friends, family, random strangers. Never occurred to me it could be offensive.  Children just are pretty - big eyes, big smiles, curly hair, whatever. It's all meant sincerely - a runny nose mess is often still the cutest little thing. ;)

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I think it is just sweet and lovely. I tend to compliment kids on being cute all the time cause I think kids in general are cute. I did make the mistake once of complimenting someone on their beautiful girls in front of a mutual friend. Mutual friends daughter is absolutely gorgeous but has had surgery for a cleft lip and she looked hurt. It was so thoughtless of me and I felt so bad. I think at that point if I'd complimented her daughter as well it would have made things far worse.

 

 

So basically I think it's ok to compliment kids on being cute or beautiful but it's better to compliment them on who they are what they can do etc.

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This kind of thing has always bothered me too. I don't think people would do this to an adult, right?  Why is it ok to draw attention to a child like that.  I especially don't like it when there are 2+ siblings together and someone goes on and on about one of them.  I think it's fine to say some thing in passing when a child is dressed up "What a lovely dress!".  I think a grandma type can be wistful and sweet and say something like "what adorable children".   But drawing attention to the looks of a child is kind of creepy and intrusive, especially from a stranger.  And I still call my 11 and 15 year olds cute and adorable regularly. 

 

If it's an actual term of endearment from someone who knows your child well, I think that CAN be ok.  It depends on the relationship overall.  I personally hope my kids feel good about how they look and who they are.  But as someone who saw too much emphasis on looks and body type growing up, I'm (possibly overly) sensitive to too much.  Both my kids have had cute and less cute phases. 

 

 

We've talked about this on here before too - when one sib gets more attention from strangers / outsiders for their looks.  It's very awkward and bad manners, frankly.  My mother put an incredible amount of emphasis on looks, especially when we were teens.  I don't think I do this?  But I am fairly certain I have gorgeous children and nieces and nephews, lol.... So maybe I do this too?????  

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:lol: Same here.

 

My mother was very striking. When I was young and we were somewhere together and met people who knew her and had never seen me, they would always look back and forth, from me to her and back again, with a kind of slightly horrified look as if to say 'But ... how can THIS be your daughter?!?' lol And now, they do that with my dh - he's the blue-eyed, light-haired, extrovert and they all expect me to be just like him - and I'm about as exact opposite as can be. It takes them a few minutes to regain their composure and adjust. lol

 

Oh, and just yesterday, my ds was telling me that his girlfriend said that I was nothing like she expected. I asked what she was expecting. He said 'She was expecting you to be more ......... (LONG pause) ...... motherly.' :lol:

:lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:

 

I was sitting here laughing with your post and my ds15 asked me what was so funny, so I asked him if he remembered how people used to fuss over Nanna and Pop so much, and he said, "They do that to you, too, Mom." So maybe I'm just clueless... or more likely the kid is smart enough to flatter his mom a bit when it's this close to Christmas and gifts are at stake. I'd like to believe him but I see myself in the mirror every morning so my money is on flattery! :lol:

 

I made a living as a model when I was (much, much, much) younger, but I never had my mom's looks. My brother was a good-looking guy, but apparently he had the same feeling when he was with our Dad, because one day several years ago, he and I were having lunch and he said, "You know, I do okay with women but whenever I'm with Dad, it's like I'm invisible. Dad is 75 years old and the waitresses are still hitting on him, and I can't even get their attention to get a second cup of coffee. I'm starting to develop a complex." :D

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I think she must mean that all children are beautiful. They are. I think you should be very careful to not meet someone's kindness with a negative reaction.

That's what I was thinking at first, too, but I started to wonder when she said that all the kids have the same uncomfortable reaction when she does it. One kid could be overly sensitive, but a bunch of kids might be on to something.

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I think the art of ignoring people is a good one to have.  Some people gush.  It isn't a particularly attractive trait even if they mean well.  When ds was younger, people would gush about his intelligence.  Now they tend to make backhanded comments about it because it can make them feel uncomfortable.  I'm glad that I taught ds to ignore the gushers because that means that he also ignores those who try to put him down for it or people in between who just have a habit of saying certain things.  We just treat it all as if it is intended to be nice (because most of it is) and just say thank you and then we move on in a pass the bean dip way.  It doesn't define him or his interactions with these people or with people in general. 

Edited by Jean in Newcastle
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:lol: Yeah, you're probably just clueless. ;)

 

My brothers were prettier than I was. One had wavy black hair and giant green 'owl' eyes and freckles. The other one had dirty blond hair, a distinctive square jaw, tall, and a very Viking look. And then there was me .... :lol:

It's a sad state of affairs when the brothers are the pretty ones! :lol:

 

I'll bet you're a lot prettier than you think you are. Sometimes when we have gorgeous moms, it's easy to feel less attractive by comparison. I was lucky because my mom was sort of like Quill's mom and always talked about how good I looked and I was dumb and self-absorbed at that time so I believed her!

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I think the art of ignoring people is a good one to have. Some people gush. It isn't a particularly attractive trait even if they mean well. When ds was younger, people would gush about his intelligence. Now they tend to make backhanded comments about it because it can make them feel uncomfortable. I'm glad that I taught ds to ignore the gushers because that means that he also ignores those who try to put him down for it or people in between who just have a habit of saying certain things. We just treat it all as if it is intended to be nice (because most of it is) and just say thank you and then we move on in a pass the bean dip way. It doesn't define him or his interactions with these people or with people in general.

I think that is a sensible approach. Say thank you and move on, or ignore the idiots and move on. Don't get too caught up in what other people say about you, whether it's good or bad, and try to assume the best of others when you can.

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I also think age comes into it. I will often tell a two year old they are a cutie whereas I'd rarely tell an older girl they were beautiful, except maybe if it's a special occasion name they're all dressed up I might comment on their pretty dress or hairstyle or something. Also I'm inclined if I'm talking to the parents to go with something like lovely. Because it could equally apply to behaviour and personality as appearance.

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I think she must mean that all children are beautiful. They are.  I think you should be very careful to not meet someone's kindness with a negative reaction.

 

I've never said anything to her, as I think she is oblivious to how she makes children feel and I think he heart is in the right place. My kids made it clear to her (I think) that they are uncomfortable with this. I talk to them about it, telling them that she means well, and that it is not a big deal. They should move on. And they do.

 

I also wonder if it depends on one's social group. In my experience it is frowned upon in attachment parenting groups. I think I would've been more touch about it if my kids were younger. At their ages, they can deal with it.

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Maybe some words are loaded more for some people than for others.

 

I have boys who are dangerously good looking (they could have totally been little toddler models they were so dang cute).  My oldest, people would walk across a business to tell me how striking his eyes were (they were, too, back then, now they're more grey...but they used to be so blue you would have sworn it was photoshop if you didn't see it in person).  It didn't really bother me.  And I don't mind if someone says they are cute. But if someone were to come over and say they were beautiful, it would creep me out a little, especially if I had daughters.  I'm sure it's more me than them.

 

Now if only my teen could go out of the house without people asking how tall he is.  I mean, I get that he's tall (6'8"), but it's not like he's the only person who ever got that tall, so I don't see what the big deal is.  Yet we *literally* can't go into a business without someone stopping to ask how tall he is. The next question, naturally, is "do you play basketball".  Then they almost die when he says "no". Apparently it's some kind of social faux pas for tall people not to play basketball.  At first I found this funny.  Now I'm just finding it tedious. 

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I gush and I don't care

 

lol

 

I compliment random strangers and adults too.

 

I'm generous, is how I see it.

Same here. I compliment people all the time. How hard is it to say something nice? I know that if I'm having a lousy day and someone says something nice to me, it cheers me up a little, so I figure I can pay that forward every day. It's such an easy thing to do. Tell somebody that you like her earrings or her hair or her handbag or that her kids are adorable or you love that scarf she is buying. It only takes a second.

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Same here. I compliment people all the time. How hard is it to say something nice? I know that if I'm having a lousy day and someone says something nice to me, it cheers me up a little, so I figure I can pay that forward every day. It's such an easy thing to do. Tell somebody that you like her earrings or her hair or her handbag or that her kids are adorable or you love that scarf she is buying. It only takes a second.

Yup! I make it a point to do that, too, and it definitely does something really great to me when random people throw a compliment my way.

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I must be surrounded by strangers like you! Can't say I hate it! It

I gush and I don't care

 

lol

 

I compliment random strangers and adults too.

 

I'm generous, is how I see it.

  

Same here. I compliment people all the time. How hard is it to say something nice? I know that if I'm having a lousy day and someone says something nice to me, it cheers me up a little, so I figure I can pay that forward every day. It's such an easy thing to do. Tell somebody that you like her earrings or her hair or her handbag or that her kids are adorable or you love that scarf she is buying. It only takes a second.

  

Yup! I make it a point to do that, too, and it definitely does something really great to me when random people throw a compliment my way.

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I don't like it when anyone makes too big a deal of outward beauty, but the fact that she says it even about a disheveled kid with a runny nose makes it seem quite innocent.  Like she just loves children and that's how she happens to express it, even if it comes out in a way that feels a little awkward or surfacy.

 

 

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Some people genuinely appreciate children more than others.  They sincerely believe they look beautiful even when they're not photo ready and perfect looking.  It doesn't diminish your child's beauty for her to think other kids are beautiful even if you don't think they are.  It also doesn't maker her a liar.  I'd take it as a compliment and not overthink it into a negative thing.  Most people love their own children, but not everyone is really a kid person.  It sounds like your friend might be.  Honestly, I think your reaction is odder than her randomly complimenting cute kids.  I mean, it's not hard to see something beautiful about a child whether its an overall aesthetic, a single striking feature, or a certain spark about their attitude.  Not everyone thinks "beautiful" means ready to pose for a magazine.  That's a pretty limiting definition. 

 

:iagree: I see beauty in every child, I'm pretty sure about that.  It's the adults I struggle a bit more with sometimes.

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I've never said anything to her, as I think she is oblivious to how she makes children feel and I think he heart is in the right place. My kids made it clear to her (I think) that they are uncomfortable with this. I talk to them about it, telling them that she means well, and that it is not a big deal. They should move on. And they do.

 

I also wonder if it depends on one's social group. In my experience it is frowned upon in attachment parenting groups. I think I would've been more touch about it if my kids were younger. At their ages, they can deal with it.

 

I'm not sure what attachment parenting circles has to do with it.  I attachment parent: baby/toddler/young preschooler wearing, nursing on demand, no crying it out, co-sleeping, child led weaning until they're 5 years old (That was oldest.  Youngest self-weaned at 4.5 years) relactating for an adopted child, no sitters until they were 2 or 3 years old (and those were doing grandparents) and the like.  

 

In life people are going to make comments that make us feel uncomfortable, sometimes based on physical appearance.  (I'm a Caucasian parent of a Korean child so I'm no stranger to that kind of thing.) All of that attachment parenting is one approach to building security in a child so they have a solid foundation when things get uncomfortable in life.

 

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