'We all love a good compliment': Deb Knight hits back at claims parents should not call girls 'pretty'

Deb Knight will continue to compliment her daughters.
Deb Knight will continue to compliment her daughters. Photo: Instagram

Deb Knight has hit back at suggestions parents should stop complimenting daughters on their looks in order to help them grow into confident young women. 

The 2GB host said she thinks it is possible to compliment girls on their appearance, while also encouraging them to draw confidence from other aspects of themselves.

"I say it to my girls if they've made an effort with what they're wearing or how they've done their hair," she said. 

"We all love a good compliment. So do I - especially if you've put the effort in. There's nothing worse than spending a chunk of time to look good and noone noticing.

"I think you can do both - compliment girls on anything they do. Whether it be their appearance or their actions. And there is a lot of focus on girls and looks.. Always has been. The focus shouldn't just be on girls looks - but I don't think it is."

Knight was reacting to the release of new book Raising Girls Who Like Themselves which advises parents to refrain from telling girls they were "pretty".

The book, by Christopher Scanlon and Kasey Edwards, instead suggests praising girls for what they do, to avoid them seeking to "be beautiful" to feel validated or appreciated. 

The book also covers young girls having the rights to 'refuse' to kiss or touch relatives if they don't want to, and the importance of being in control of what happens to their body.

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Knight and husband Lindsay have 3 children - son Darcy, 11, and daughters Elsa and Audrey, aged ten and five.

Knight said part of the conversation that is missing when talking about teens and self-image was boys.

"I think the issue not being talked about here is boys. They are being bombarded with images of really unrealistic looks. Muscle men, the six pack, ripped abs, Chris Hemsworth as the body boys should aim for," she said.

"There's so much focus on girls - what about the body image of boys. The Butterfly Foundation is seeing a massive increase in eating disorders in boys and young men. And the number of teenagers and young men using steroids and supplements to get that buff look - it's through the roof.

"If we're going to be worried about unrealistic body image issues - I think the focus has got to shift to boys and what they're bombarded with. You don't have to be a muscle man - just be as active as you can. 

"And can we lay off the preachy parenting. Noone has all the answers. All we can really do is our best."