Something has bothered me for some time now and I must say I have in most part never spoken up about the subject for fear of stepping on toes or possibly unintentionally ruffling the feathers of friends; but the older my daughter gets the more this topic weighs on my mind and heart to the point I feel compelled to open up about it. So in a loving tone and without any hint of ill-will, hear goes:
Please don’t compliment my daughter by calling her “Diva”. Sounds a little crazy, but there is an epidemic of this cutesy nickname being applied as an adjective describing little girls these days and there is a big reason I am just not for it.
Diva is not a term of endearment in our household. Because, it’s more like, if and when this behavior is demonstrated, being a Diva is cause to sit a spell in time-out until we correct ourselves.
For some reason unknown to me, Diva has become almost an accolade for girls lately. And I cannot stand it. I can’t stand it simply because I know the word’s definition, and it’s not okay.
I’ve witnessed Moms so proud of this particular nickname for their daughters that they embroider it in the prettiest font to be found across the backside of their toddler’s bloomers; or they paint it in big bubble letters on canvas to match the colors in their little girl’s duvet cover and hang it prominently above her headboard.
But, I have to wonder if these same good, solid, well-meaning Mommas who undoubtedly love their precious daughters and want only the best for them have ever taken the time to look up what the term Diva actually means… because if they have I think they’d take a seam ripper to the Edwardian Script embroidered “Diva” bloomers asap.
The noun form of Diva relates solely to a female opera singer; however Diva used as a descriptive word is a slang term and has a meaning quite different:
Diva: One who demands that attention be paid to his or her needs, especially without regard to anyone else’s needs or feelings.
That definition wouldn’t be so pretty painted on canvas and hung above your sweet princesses’ headboard. Neither would these adjectives: egotist, narcissist, spoiled brat, crybaby, vain, conceited, or self-centered… these are all synonyms for “Diva”, and there were others but they were not nearly so tame so I opted out including those.
Eye rolling and an attitude of entitlement get you nowhere quick around our house, except straight to your room to pick out a favorite toy or possession that has a one-way donation ticket to the Goodwill and will be earmarked for another child who will appreciate it more and be grateful rather than act spoiled… true story right there.
Because you know why? It’s my job to raise a child who CARES about the NEEDS of others before that of his/her own and acts like it. Period. If we are acting “Diva” then I’m on a mission to fix it, not to celebrate it.
I don’t want to label my daughter a Diva, even in innocent fun, and have her grow into the description of what a Diva is. That attitude is nowhere near God-honoring and promoting a Diva mentality in my child is not going to make for a very nice adult down the road.
My oldest daughter will turn 6 this summer and not long ago was fixed up in her hairbows, a sweet dress, carried a little purse and even had some kid’s sunglasses propped on top her head while the both of us went on a Mom ‘n Me trip to Target.
We were walking across the parking lot into the store and passed by a couple of girls that looked to be around college-aged. They saw my little girl dressed up and one of the older girls said to my daughter and I with a bright warm smile: “What a little Diva!” I could tell the young lady was thinking she just paid my daughter the ultimate compliment, but honestly the words made my heart hurt and they had absolutely no relevance.
I was sad because immediately following that comment my little girl asked me what Diva meant and I had to stammer around with some half-truth explanation. Naturally, I wasn’t about to give her the actual definition of the adjective, she had displayed no “self-centered” behavior to warrant that description.
I also hated it because this slang term has become so socially acceptable that many times when a little girl is dressed up and fashionable it seems to be automatically applied as a label to the child, when by attitude they may in fact be the polar opposite of what you have just unknowingly defined them as simply because they looked “the part” of a Diva by being dressed up in a coordinating outfit with an accessory or two.
I guess my simple and genuine-hearted request is this: it is important to know the meaning of what you are calling or labeling another person, especially a child, be it your own child or another’s before arbitrarily saying it aloud or printing it on the bloomers, dance bag, or canvas.
Because there likely will come a time and point when that little girl can read and asks what a particular name above her headboard stands for, or what is the meaning of her nickname is. In telling her the definition, ask yourself is this a description of the character I am trying to nurture in my child and would I be proud to read her from Webster’s the description of what this name means?
For us, Diva is not a disposition we are striving for; no matter how popular the term might be. I’d much rather see the words “Caring” or “Kind” embroidered on my toddler’s bloomers or hanging in her bedroom! Feel free to call her those words; they are attributes that go largely unpraised and are grossly overshadowed for more superficial compliments on appearances. Caring and Kind might not be nearly as cute or catchy, but I’d have no problems explaining those adjectives to my girl should she be fortunate enough to be called either of those one day… that is the little girl I am trying and praying for God’s wisdom to raise.