53 Compliments for Daughters (That Every Parent Needs to Be Saying!)

Every get just a little bit tongued tied when it comes doling out just-the-right compliment for your daughter?

It makes sense that we might fall into the habit of serving up compliments for daughters about how “cute,” “great,” or “pretty” they look. However, when it comes to building confidence and self-esteem, telling our girls how good they look can be a huge mistake!

Here’s some insight into why looks-based compliments aren’t helping her–and why they may even put a ding in her self-esteem!

You’ll also learn what kind of compliments for daughters are proven to give her a self-image boost, and then get over four dozen ideas for specific things you can start saying to boost her self-esteem today.

Parenting your daughter in unique ways that support and empower her will help her feel good about herself now—as well as be a source of confidence she can draw on throughout life.

Read on to learn which works can help build up your daughter’s confidence the most!


The #1 Problem With Looks-Based Compliments

When we focus on how our daughters look—even in a positive way—we inadvertently send them the message that their appearance is really important. As moms, we have the power to counter that message. We can help her avoid the pitfall of focusing on her looks or body shape and size by drawing out and highlighting her other qualities.

Another reason we want to avoid focusing on her looks is that they change over and over, particularly if you’re living in a female body!

Our bodies change when we go through puberty, pregnancy, stress, menopause, and more! We age, we have good days and bad days, and trends in what’s acceptable and idealized in terms of body size change too.

Additionally, despite the fact that diet culture tells our girls over and over and over that their body weight is something that needs to be minimized and controlled, it’s not true. Dieting for weight loss is harmful and can lead to eating disorders.

Further, our weight isn’t in our direct control: our genetics, for example, have a significant impact on our body weight, as well as our height, hair, facial features, and more.

So looks-based compliments for daughters can teach her to value herself for her looks, weight, height, or beauty, which are largely things outside of her control. Compliments for daughters that center on appearance will push her to pursue unrealistic ideals.

Compliments for daughters that focus on attributes outside of her looks, on the other hand, can help her recognize her self-worth and teach her to value much more tangible, long-lasting, and substantial and reliable parts of herself. Parts of herself such as intelligence, grace, kindness, strength, tenacity, and resilience can remain as long as she likes them to–and without her having to harm herself with dieting, expensive makeup and hair products, or injections to do so!

    Appearance-based compliments do the opposite of empowering your daughter. Instead, they may make her feel her looks are the most important thing about her.

    Thinking beauty is the goal, girls can invest tons of time and energy into trying to look a certain way or trying to meet culturally accepted standards of beauty—standards that are out of reach for 99 percent of us.


    Positive Things to Say to Your Daughter

    So now that we know that non-appearance-based compliments can make your daughter more resilient against peer pressure, social media images, and even eating disorders, all you need is a few ideas.

    This comprehensive list of non-body compliments will empower your daughter, enabling her to recognize her worth beyond her physical appearance. I created it to help inspire you when it comes to telling your daughter how incredible she is.

    It’s broken up into sections, so if you’re already aware of certain qualities your daughter has—such as honesty—you can scroll right to that section to get specific compliments. Not so sure? Read them all, which can help recognize some new things about her to admire including those you may have overlooked or never thought about!

    Offering just one genuine compliment a day is enough to make a noticeable difference in her confidence. In no time, you’ll help her realize that her value goes well beyond appearance, which will improve her well-being now and throughout life and help her unlock her full potential!


    Get Your Printable List of Compliments for Your Daughter!

    Click here to get NourishHer’s Confidence-Compliments, FREE Download!

    53 Best Non-Body-Based Compliments for Daughters

    Here are specific ideas you can use, organized by topic area.

    Trust and Honesty: Strength in Vulnerability

    Acknowledge your daughter’s courage and sincerity when she opens up to you. Emphasize the value of trust and honesty, fostering a strong bond built on open communication. Let her know that her willingness to show vulnerability is a sign of strength.

    • I admire the fact that you can tell me the trust even when you know it\’s going to be tough for me to hear.
    • I love that you’re not afraid to show your emotions.
    • You’re really loyal to people you care about and I admire that!
    • You do a great job explaining your opinion.
    • I love that you feel comfortable enough to tell others how you feel.

    Fearlessness: Embracing New Connections

    Highlight your daughter’s boldness and social skills. Encourage her to embrace new experiences and cultivate relationships that enrich her life.

    • I appreciate how brave you are when it comes to meeting new people.
    • I’m impressed by how kind you were to ____.
    • I love how open you are to people who are different than you.
    • You do a great job giving people the benefit of the doubt!
    • I love how you’re always willing to make a new friend.

    Responsibility: Being Mature, Dependable, & Trustworthy

    Highlight your daughter’s ability to take ownership of mistakes, to be reliable, and to act with an eye to the future.

    • You’re so responsible. People can really rely on you to follow through! 
    • You’re so good at taking a pause to think before you react; it’s really impressive!
    • What a good planner you are! Great job thinking ahead.

    Dedication: Aiming for Excellence

    Acknowledge your daughter’s dedication and perseverance. By recognizing her efforts, you inspire her to continue striving for success.

    • I really admire how hard you’re working on this project.
    • Your willingness to keep trying even after things didn’t work out the first time is really something to be admired!
    • You’re so good at figuring things out!
    • You’re so persistent, especially when it comes to solving problems.
    • I like how you stuck with that.

    Self-Care: Respecting Her Body & Prioritizing Needs

    Praise her ability to identify and address her physical and emotional needs. By recognizing her ability to take good care of herself, you inspire her to continue prioritizing and finding value in these behaviors.

    • I like how you chose to wear something comfortable–that was well thought out!
    • I’m impressed that you remembered to take care of yourself by [ie packing a snack, eating lunch before you left, staying hydrated before practice/walk/outdoor activity].
    • You’re taking really good care of yourself when it comes to getting enough sleep. I’m so impressed because that’s not always an easy thing to do!
    • I like how you choose to stay home today because you were tired even though your friends were going out.
    • I admire how you listen to your body and eat as much or as little as feels right for you.
    • I think it’s really cool that you have your own style! It shows how confident you are!

    Positivity: A Ray of Light

    Recognize your daughter’s ability to bring positivity into people’s lives. Show appreciation for her innate talent to brighten the atmosphere and spread joy.

    • I love how good you are at lifting up the mood when people are feeling down.
    • You have an amazing way of making everyone [at the table/on the team/in our family/amongst your friends] feel seen and heard!
    • You have a special way of helping people laugh–what a great gift!
    • You\’re so thoughtful. Thank you for remembering ____!
    • It\’s really special how you always manage to find the good in someone else! You\’re such a natural at ____!

    Attention to Detail: Mastering Precision

    Celebrate your daughter’s meticulousness and precision. Highlight her ability to focus on intricacies, which sets her apart.

    • You do a great job focusing on the details!
    • I like how you take your time with things you care about.
    • You notice the smallest things, which made a huge difference in the success of this project/our trip/our day/your team’s win!
    • That fact that you remembered ______ made all the difference today!

    Patience: A Virtue that Inspires

    Showcase how her ability to remain calm and composed positively impacts others.

    • You really inspire me with how much patience you have with your sister/a friend/tough problems/with this project.
    • Your patience is an amazing gift!
    • The fact that you stayed calm helped everyone else do the same! Thank you!
    • That took a lot of patience to finish. Great work!

    Kindness: A Heart of Gold

    Express admiration for your daughter’s compassionate nature. Highlight instances where she has shown kindness to others, cultivating empathy. Recognize her efforts to make others feel valued and appreciated.

    • Your kindness is sweet!
    • Thank you for being so thoughtful.
    • You’re always so generous! Thank you for sharing ____!
    • It’s amazing how you think of other people’s feelings.
    • When I see how kind you are to others it makes me what to be kinder too.
    • Thank you for being so kind to your sibling even when it’s not easy.
    • Your thoughtfulness in remembering ____ is truly appreciated!\”

    Creativity: Problem-Solving Prowess

    Recognize your daughter’s resourcefulness in solving problems. Encourage her imaginative thinking and celebrate her unique solutions.

    • Thank you for sharing that! You’re so smart!
    • What a great solution! I’m so happy you put energy into thinking about how to fix this.
    • You’re so creative when it comes to solving tough problems!
    • That’s an excellent idea!
    • You always have new ways of looking at things. That’s so valuable!
    • I’m so happy you’re part of this team/family/class. We wouldn’t have thought of that solution without you.

    Articulation: Effective Communication

    Applaud your daughter’s ability to articulate her thoughts and opinions clearly. Encourage her to engage in meaningful conversations.

    • I really admire how confident you are about this!
    • You do an excellent job expressing your opinion.
    • Your confidence in talking bout this is inspiring me and others! Thank you!

    💫 Bonus! Download a printable copy of the compliments for daughters list (at bottom) and keep it at home so you can whip out a self-esteem booster comment to cheer her up anytime you need it!


    37 Words to Empower Your Daughter

    If these compliments feel like a mouthful, how about just a list of adjectives to riff off of instead? Here are the most inspiring and complimentary words you can use to describe your daughter and they all have absolutely nothing to do with the way she looks.

    If you’ve got a younger daughter or feel like some of these words are too foreign to use, go for it anyway. Just be sure to follow up the compliment with, “Do you know what that means?” and then explain. She’ll get a double benefit by learning a new word!

    TIP! Compliments for Daughters Need Context!

    Taking an extra minute to explain exactly what you mean when you tell her she’s fierce, a great leader, a good story-teller, or fun to be around will make those compliments even more powerful when it comes to boosting self-esteem. For exampl, “you’re fierce when you go after the ball,” or “you’re such a great story-teller when you share details of your day at dinner,” or “your sense of humor makes you so much fun to be with!”

    • Adventurous
    • Brave
    • Clever
    • Compassionate
    • Courageous
    • Creative
    • Curious
    • Dedicated
    • Determined
    • Fierce
    • Flexible
    • Fun to be around
    • Easy-to-talk-to
    • Good listener
    • Great leader
    • Great story-teller
    • Hard-working
    • Honest
    • Independent
    • Inventive
    • Insightful
    • Logical
    • Loyal friend
    • Observant
    • Polite
    • Positive
    • Patient
    • Reliable
    • Resilient
    • Resourceful
    • Tenacious
    • Thoughtful
    • Persistent
    • Smart
    • Trustworthy
    • Understanding
    • Valuable (as in a valuable member of our family, this team, or our class)

    How Do I Compliment My Daughter on Her Looks?

    I get it, I get it! You’re wondering, is there ever a time when it’s okay to comment on the way my daughter looks? Is the right way to do it without sending her the message that her beauty, body type, or weight really matters?

    Yes, I think so. Here’s a rule-of-thumb you can use to guide you when it comes to saying things that boost her sense of self-worth… If you’re wondering if what you just said—or something you’re already in the habit of saying—is sending her a positive message for not, ask yourself this: Am I praising something she has agency over? Can she control this about herself—or not?

    If you’re really concerned about how your daughter feels about her body or her looks, you can teach her to build good feelings about them using positive body affirmations! These will help her learn to love her body for what it does (not what it looks like) as well as increase her resilience against the pressure to be thinner, taller, leaner, prettier.


    Good Compliment or Bad Compliment: How Can You Tell?

    Wondering if something you say to your daughter is truly a good idea? Here’s a quick litmus test: ask yourself, is this something within her control?

    If the answer is “yes!” then go for it!

    If not, skip it.

    Here’s why…. complimenting and encouraging her effort or an action she took can be positive and empowering. It lets her know that the things she is choosing to do (or not do) matter. While complimenting something she has not power over, say for example how “beautiful” or “thin” or “tall” she is tell her that she’s valued for something other than what she does or thinks or how she chooses to act.

    If you really do feel compelled to compliment her on her looks (and how doesn’t?) then try to focus on something that she has control over, such as good grooming, hygiene, or styling. For example, perhaps she pulled together an outfit that’s perfect for the occasion.

    When you focus on an action she took, you point out something specific that she chose to do. That’s going to empower her to feel like she makes good decisions. And that feeling will last and cross over into other areas.

    Telling her she “looks so pretty” is vague and won’t give her the sense that there’s something good inside of her.

    For example, “I love that you decided to wear shorts today—it’s going to be really hot!” is much better than “those shorts look great on you.”

    “That braid in your hair looks like it took a lot of patience to pull together, great job!” is much better than, “your hair is beautiful.”

    “I love how you took time to pick out a dress that was extra fancy since this is a special occastion. It shows how excited you are about celebrating ___” is much better than, “you look so pretty in that dress today.”


    The Best Way to Comment on Your Daughter’s Picture

    Whether she’s showing you pics on her phone or asking you to comment on her social media, our girls are in more photos than ever before—and it can be tough to know exactly what to say.

    To help her realize her worth and what’s truly important, focus on aspects of the photo that involve her experience, an action she took, or a relationship she’s built as opposed to how she looks.

    This will help emphasize the importance and value of doing things as opposed to being seen.

    “You look so happy in this one!”

    “Wow, I love how you’re always up for an adventure; that must have been a fun day!”

    “You’re so great at being social; you must be a great friend!”

    “I’m impressed that you got to go there/do that! Good for you!”


    100 Ways to Praise a Child

    Okay, so I over-delivered on the compliments! Instead of 53, you’ll find more than 100 ideas here for you to use when it comes to helping build up your daughter’s confidence!

    By offering genuine and specific compliments, we empower girls to embrace their unique qualities and capabilities, helping them build a strong sense of self-worth and resilience that they’ll be able to rely on now and throughout life.

    In case you missed it, in this piece you’ve got:

    • 6 Ways Praise Helps Your Kids
    • 53 Specific Compliments to Give
    • 37 Positive Words You Can Use to Describe Your Child
    • 3 Ideas for Commenting on Appearance—Without Emphasizing the Importance of Looks
    • 4 Ways Positive Ways to Comment on Photos Without Focusing Appearance

    Confidence.

    It’s the ultimate gift to give your daughter!

    @NourishHer

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