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Toddlers, Tiaras and Makeup, Oh My

Whose dream is it really?

I may be biased; in fact, I know I'm biased. Lilliana is beautiful. Heck, every mom out there is certain that her little girl is absolutely beautiful. And, I will admit I participated in a couple -- scratch that -- several beauty pageants in my time.

Lately, I have seen a couple of those shows about pageant moms and dance moms, and let me just say -- no. Uh-uh -- no way. Not me, not her, not us, not ever. Because it seems to me that is what is happening. It seems like these moms are driving these kids to fulfill a dream for them. Maybe it was something the child wanted in the beginning, but do they really want it now or are they just trying desperately to win mom's love and approval? 

I do not see the overwhelming desire in Lilliana to be a beauty queen.  I want her to be a little girl. I want her to be a success at whatever she wants to be. I want her to do her best and give her all at whatever she does, but there's a fine line between guiding your children to not be a quitter and pushing them too hard. Sometimes it's hard to know whether we are doing the right thing or just giving them fodder for years of therapy.

Now, to be honest, I have wobbled back and forth since Lilliana was born about whether to enter her in a beauty pageant or not.  I mean, they're out there. They're all over the place if you are willing to invest the time and money. She is definitely a girly-girl and loves to play with makeup and tiaras and priss around in pretend heels. If she wants to enter one, I am not strictly opposed to it. I am willing to let her explore and discover what is and isn't for her.

However, what I am most interested in is these "natural beauty pageants" that are becoming more and more popular that don't allow makeup for children under a certain age. Hey, how about we let children look like children for as long as possible? How about we don't make them up to look like Tammy Faye Baker and parade them around in strapless gowns before puberty? I can be comfortable with this. There is no way to improve upon the natural beauty of a happy child who knows they are loved and appreciated for who they are.

And, in the security of my maturity, I can tell you that I never did win that crown. It just wasn't in the cards for me. I guess I didn't have "IT," whatever it is that the judges are looking for. I gave up that dream a long time ago, and I refuse to try to live that dream through my child. I want her to be her own person with her own goals and dreams. I will be happy to support her in whatever she chooses.

Crystal Huskey September 26, 2011 at 05:00 PM
My three-year-old daughter loves dresses, crowns and diamonds. But, I would never ever ever let her participate in a beauty pageant. Even if she wanted to. I don't want her growing up thinking that beauty is competitive, or that one face or body is better than another. Now I do know one girl, Christine Waters, who won a pageant and competes. She's a junior or senior in high school, and very well grounded, and her mom is great too. So no offense to competitors, but to me it's not a mind-set that I want my daughter to grow up with. By the way, you're right, Lilliana is definitely beautiful :)
Tracie Tolentino September 27, 2011 at 12:07 AM
Thank you! And kudos for standing up for what you believe in!
Larry September 27, 2011 at 11:36 AM
I don't think that it's healthy to place such emphasis on beauty for children, at any age. There are too many other traits that are more important for their maturation. Beauty should be recognized spontaneously, not emphasized.

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