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How should I respond when people comment on my daughter's "boyish" appearance?

My 4-year-old daughter’s a tomboy, who prefers pants to dresses and a baseball cap to barrettes. I think she looks cute, but people comment on her “boyish” appearance. How should I respond?

Submitted by Maryn.Liles

Ugh, people are rude. But you can’t change them. What’s important here is your response, because that’s what your daughter is going to remember. So the next time someone critiques your girl’s appearance, try saying, “Doesn’t she look fabulous?” or “I love her sense of personal style!” And if the person keeps up the catty commentary, turn with your daughter on the heels of your Chuck Taylors, and never talk to that bigmouth again.

(Question and answer featured in March 2013’s issue of Parents.)

The answers from our experts are for educational purposes only. Please always refer to your child's pediatrician and mental health expert for more in-depth advice.

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