My 4-year old daughter has been invited to a princess party. A mom friend of mine tells me that this is “just the beginning.”
O.k., I won’t lie. I don’t like princesses. I am sure they are perfectly nice and all. Most are cute and rich and have a great house…ahem, castle. They end up with the hunk of the town and live happily ever after. Sounds like a dream. And that’s exactly the reason I don’t like them. Princesses aren’t real. Sure, there are a few real princesses in the world. There’s the princess of Monaco and if Kate Middleton ever marries Prince William she will be a princess, too. So, I know of maybe two real princesses. There are handful of Disney princesses and millions of little girls who want to be one.
As I was reflecting on a gift for the Birthday girl, I remembered my overall gift-giving philosophy: a gift should represent something the receiver wants, but wouldn’t necessarily purchase for themselves. It should also reflect their interests and hobbies and be meaningful to them. That meant something related to princesses. Hummm. I was stumped.
Instead of my sticking with my first impression that princesses are spoiled, passive, unambitious and in need of rescue by a prince, I began thinking about what really makes a princess.
- A princess is kind-hearted
- She is compassionate
- She demonstrates a zest for life
- She exudes independence
- She sacrifices self for others happiness
- She serves as a role model
- A princess has positive qualities like intelligence and curiosity
- She is a good friend to others
- And finally, she has hopes and dreams for something better
Ah ha! That’s it—the recipe for self-esteem. All people want to feel respected, unique, and have a sense of belonging. These feelings are expressed by a deep sense of self-esteem which we parents have the very important task of instilling in our children.
So while I don’t exactly love the idea of princesses, I am coming around. I can acknowledge that there are indeed some good qualities about them. Yet, I don’t want my daughters to emulate any of the negative ones. You know what I’m talking about. Self-righteousness, bossiness, naiveté, and this need to be rescued by anyone, especially a handsome prince.
The take-home lesson here is to talk to your daughters. Teach them what you do like about princesses and fairytales. Let them know that they are special little people and loved and smart and you think the world of them. Even if they aren’t the ruler of “Happily-ever-after,” (and probably never will be). I’m not saying you should spill the beans about the Easter Bunny who fills our stockings or the tooth fairy who stuffs our wooden shoes with candy. But be honest. Go ahead and treat her like the little girl she is—just keep her grounded. And know that she might kiss a few frogs along the way.