Seven years ago, Claire O'Reilly gave birth to her first daughter.
Having raised two boys already, she thought herself an expert parent. But raising her daughter taught her an important lesson.
From the start, Claire found that people treated her daughter differently to her two boys.
The midwives who delivered my sons pronounced them strong, sturdy lads. But Annie — at a massive 9lb 10oz, far heavier than either of her brothers — was first called ‘beautiful’ by the midwife when she was less than a minute old.
This continued over the years. As they got older, Claire's boys were praised for being "adventurous" when they climbed trees, or told they might grow up to be engineers because of their elaborate Lego creations. While her daughter was consistently praised for her looks.
This made Claire realise that raising a young woman to be self-confident and independent comes with a whole host of unique challenges.
Because of this, Claire has vowed never to call her daughter beautiful.
Instead, she opts to shower her in compliments about her ability at sport, her kindness to animals or her dedication in practising the piano.
While Claire's parenting ethos may sound extreme, the facts appear to back up her belief that girls face disproportionate pressure to look attractive from a young age.
In 2016, a study by Girlguiding UK revealed that a third of seven-to-ten year olds believe that they are judged on their appearance and a quarter feel the need to be perfect.
So while never complimenting girls on their looks may seem a step too far, perhaps we could all do with distributing praise more evenly.
TB: Daily Mail