My daughter thinks she’s ugly, what do I tell her?

my daughter thinks she's ugly

“my daughter thinks she’s ugly, what do I tell her?”

No matter what age your daughter shares her insecurities, it’s heartbreaking to hear. I’m not a parent yet, I don’t personally know what it feels like to hear this – but I do know what it feels like to say it.

Growing up, I felt ugly a lot.

All my friends had boyfriends except me. The thing I didn’t understand about it was…I was skinny, pretty, and popular. So trust me, it happens to everyone. Feeling ugly is a feeling – not an objective fact.

Since beauty and attractiveness are both subjective (beauty is in the eye of the beholder) the feeling of ugliness or unattractiveness is subjective, too. There are millions of women who feel ugly – even though people call them beautiful.


When you live in a culture of impossible beauty standards, no one measures up. I’m sure the first thought in your mind when your daughter said this was, “but you’re so beautiful!” That’s a natural response to have, but here’s why it’s more harmful than helpful.

helping my daughter with body image

Disagreeing with their insecurities only makes it worse.

You’re not allowing them to feel validated in their insecurities. The first step in overcoming addiction is admitting you have a problem, right? You can’t fix something while pretending it doesn’t exist.

So if you want to help your daughter work through her feelings of ugliness or unworthiness, it has to start with validating the feelings she has.

I’m not saying to agree with them!

That’s different, but when your daughter comes to you saying she’s ugly or all her friends are prettier than her, respond first with, “I know how you feel,” Because let’s face it, we ALL know how that feels.

But when you’re really struggling to know how to point her in the direction of confidence, that says there’s something going on within you that needs to be resolved.

Before you can help your daughter, you have to help yourself

If you’re struggling with body confidence, your beliefs are going to seep into your daughter’s beliefs and behaviors, too. You have to get right within yourself before you can really set a good example for others.

You know when you’re about to take off and the flight attendants are doing the safety demonstration? They say to put your own oxygen mask on properly first before assisting others.

This isn’t because they want you to be selfish. It’s because you’re better equipped to help others when you’re getting enough oxygen.

The same is true for your body confidence. When you’re supportive and understanding about your insecurities, you’re better equipped to help your daughter practice the same thing. How do you start practicing body confidence for yourself?

Reflect on your own insecurities

Don’t be afraid! Addressing your insecurities doesn’t give them more power or make them more real. They’re real whether you’re reflecting on them or not – right? So you may as well face them head on instead of ignoring them.

Speaking them, writing them down, and even sharing them with a coach or therapist helps dissolve the power they have over you. Once you know your insecurities, you can “map” them to beliefs you have around who you are and what makes a woman worthy, beautiful, or valuable.

We pick up beliefs from our parents, friends, and influences in the media all the time. If you’re not careful, you could be believing some really terrible lies. One big lie women believe is that if they’re thinner they’ll be more attractive. This isn’t inherently true.

But it’s plastered everywhere online, in our culture, and even in our own minds. So start challenging these beliefs.

Who says being thinner equals being more attractive?

Can you think of examples where this wasn’t true?

When was the first time you thought this?

Who was the first person who said something like this to you?

Working through these questions with yourself helps you see these ideas did not come from you. They came from other insecure people – or diet companies trying to sell you something.

I went through this process and documented everything. Then, I created The Confidence Kickstart to help other women challenge these beliefs and create their own self confidence.

You can sign up for the kickstart here.



February 21, 2019


Rebekah Buege is a body confidence coach helping strong women process critical thoughts and heal insecurities.

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