My daughter called me ugly. What do I do?

Rachel - posted on 08/30/2012 ( 5 moms have responded )




My daughter just turned 4 on the 27th. This evening before bed, we had just finished our walk, and went in to brush teeth and get ready for bed. After her teeth were brushed I went and grabbed her PJs and changed into some shorts. I came out and noticed she was making fake "puking" noises and ignored it. I took her into her room (she was in a fine mood, by the way, not cranky or upset) to get her dressed where she continued the noises. I asked her what was the matter. She said to me "You're so ugly." completely matter-of-factly. I was kind of taken aback but I asked "Why do you say that?" and she answered as she looked me up and down "Look at your body." Being overweight and self-conscious anyway, I was immediately hurt and got up and shut her light off. I told her she is not allowed to say that to people and told her to go to bed. Now...I try to be aware of how I talk about myself in front of my daughter. I understand that I do not want her to have issues with the way she sees herself, etc. So I'm very careful not to put myself down in front of her. I was so blown away by what she said to me I didn't even know how to handle it. Where could she have heard something like this? Or was she just speaking her mind? Is this behavior that I should be discouraging? I'm so confused right now. After I told her to go to bed, I had to go back in and get her pajamas on, etc. I couldn't even hold back the tears because i was so upset, even though i didn't really want her to see me so affected by what she said. I told her what she said was incredibly hurtful and mean and she should not speak to anybody that way, I was a bit harsh at first because of how upset i was, which made her upset, so i calmed myself down for a minute and got her tucked into bed. She didn't really seem affected by what she said to me or how it bothered me so much. I'm not exactly sure how to handle this. I'm fully aware of my body and know it's a "work in progress" (haha) but I had no idea that my daughter saw me that way. She's always told me how pretty and beautiful I am. Needless to say her words tonight were crushing. PLEASE HELP ME! How in the world can I explain any of this to my four year old???


Dianne - posted on 08/31/2012




Hello Rachel,

Please do not beat yourself up about what your daughter said - she is only 4 and definately does not mean it. Has she perhaps being watching something on TV that could have triggered this response.

She will not show any signs of been affected by what she said as she does not understand the actual meaning of what she said to you and therefore would not understand that it related to why you were feeling so upset.

The fact that your daughter has often told you that you are beautiful and pretty means that she does not see you this way as you mentioned in your post.

Do not let this crush you - explain to your daughter in a nice way now that you have calmed down that saying mean words like that is hurtful and that it is not nice. It is so easy to critisize ourselves, especially in their earshot at times but we must try and remember that beauty comes from within.

You will see that she will probably respond with that you are pretty and beautiful and everything from the other night will be forgotten.

Children are so unconciously mean - but comfort yourself that she is definately not a meanie.

Us mommies all have "work in progress" bodies but know that our children love us unconditionally :)

All the best



View replies by

Kath - posted on 06/24/2013




your little girl won't mean a thing she 's a babe i'm sure of it : )

my son however is not :/

Kath - posted on 06/24/2013




My son 19 was sat with me the other night we were having a Chinese together out of the blue he said boy our ugly... i looked at him and he looked a little embarrassed and grinned i thought it strange yet let it go the next day at work i felt soo flat ... and wanted to cry...

so be honest i was devastated , no matter how i tried to go on

the point is i have brought my children up more or less on my own it's been soo hard .. i adore them .. they don't respect me never have a kind word for me and i'm at a real low have two jobs work hard no time and i wonder if it's been worth it all there father gets all the praise has the money can treat them take them on holidays ...they i've priovided the home struggled it's been hell really for me

i so wish it hadn't been like this but i didn't know any other way

there words really hurt

i explained to him how it made me feel and i'm so hurt you can't take words back... i really think i must deserve this

they are the most important people to me i've never put them down i have sworn when upset i hate myself for that

they are great kids doing very well healthy too

i had a terrible time as a child and know he's made me feel his life with me was bad too but i honestly did my best i couldn't of done anymore

the ugly bit has just put my life into prespective its been rubbish

but they are ok more or less

i may leave them all behind they wouldn't even notice

[deleted account]

Hi Rachel - yeah I would really be surprisd that she knew what she was talking about, maybe just copying someone else. You are the centre of her world - she loves you and I'm sure you are totally beautiful in her eyes! Being overweight certainly doesn't make you ugly!

In fact, I imagine kids like a soft mama to hug because you feel better to hug than a boney mama!

I personally am not very good looking but my kids always tell me I'm beautiful just because they love me.

I do hope your daughter never says it again. You could just roll your eyes and take it as a joke. eg say in a silly voice "no! YOU ugly me gorgeous!"

Rachel - posted on 09/10/2012




Thank you for your reply Dianne. I talked to my mom about the incident as well, and she had similar advice to yours. We ended up just ignoring it and pretending like it didn't happen. She didn't seem to have any recollection of it, and nothing similar has ever been said since. I know I over reacted, and that she really didn't understand what she was saying or how it affected me. I was also feeling very vulnerable for all sorts of other reasons at the time, so it all piled together at once. Hopefully if it does ever happen again, I will be able to heed your advice and not let it affect me so, and explain to her the weight of her words.

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