Irene's Secret Tips, Products, and Interviews Geared Towards Showing Adolescent Girls How to Thrive and Excel in Our Cultural Times!

Avoid Insincerity and Backhanded Compliments

Posted on: May 5, 2010

               Many families believe that it is okay to be
               insincere from time to time. But this is far from
               the case.  We need to teach our daughters the
               real essence of truth and to complement her
               honestly and not in a backhanded manner.
               There are some shadow, ‘half there’ kind
               of insincere complements that can actually
               hurt our daughters. The “That’s nice, dear”
               thrown over the top of the newspaper, or the
               “How was your day at school?” tossed off
               more as a habit than real interest, can really
               be damaging to your relationship with your
               Our daughters have the capacity to
               consume a lot of our time. So, it seems all too
               easy to slip into “pretend response mode”
               when we put on the appearance of
               interacting with them but inf act are not at all
               engaged. The problem is that even though it
               is not intentional, the implicit message that
               we are sending is that they are not deserving
               of our attention.
               If you catch yourself slipping into this
               mode, stop yourself immediately and
               apologize. Explain that it is not a lack of
               interest in what she is talking about that is
               the problem but whatever it truly is, such as:
               exhaustion, distraction or preoccupation
               with some particular issue.  
               Lastly, be careful not to give the gift of
               positive words and then carelessly tacking
               on a backhanded compliment. These are
               statements that start out positively but make
               a quick turnaround and end up doing more
               damage than good. Examples of statements
               such as these are as follows:
               * You look good, considering all of those
               chocolate bars you ate yesterday.
               * I’ll always love you no matter what size
               jeans you have to cram into.
               * Great catch. How did you do that?
               The last place our daughters need to hear
               backhanded compliments are from us. She
               will hear them all of her life from other
               To reaffirm their growing sense of self-
               esteem, our daughters need to hear messages
               from us that signal complete engagement,
               support, and unconditional love. We should
               give her the kind of support that she needs in
               the home to build up her self-esteem. 
                ~ Irene


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Irene Roth

Irene S. Roth, Freelance Writer for Teens, Tweens, and Kids

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May 2010
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