I'm worried a lot right now about her self image. Up until this spring, she's been blissfully unself-conscious. She flitted around the neighborhood in shorts and tank tops every summer (and sometimes just a swimsuit), and she was a totally carefree, sunny, happy-go-lucky little girl. I knew that wouldn't last forever, but I'd hoped to continue it for a more years. I think it might be over now, at age 8.
She's so much pickier lately, about what she wears. She won't wear shorts to school, she told me she's just going to wear long pants or capris. I don't get it. Everyone else wears shorts. Her classroom isn't air-conditioned. A few times, if she thinks the shirt she's wearing is too tight or too short, she'll keep her jacket all day. That can't be comfortable.
|This smile makes me think of my cousin Andrea.|
So I tried to show her how to stretch out a shirt a little, if she thinks it's too tight, but it wasn't working well enough for her and at one point she looked down, almost in tears saying "I'll just wear my jacket over it." It breaks my heart.
I'd like to blame society for this, at least in part. It isn't just the ads for adults that she happens to see. It's the cartoons, too. Just the other day I walked in on her watching an episode of Phineas and Ferb that had their sister Candace looking at a magazine called "Flawless Girl," and saying she is so glad she has that magazine to show her what clothes to wear, and how to fix her hair. I don't want my 8 year old thinking about trying to be a "flawless girl."
This video does a great job of showing you outwardly what the ads we see are telling our subconscious.
I guess all I can do is try hard to give her confidence in herself. Make sure she eats healthy, gets lots of exercise but doesn't see it as exercise, and knows she is a smart, fun, and gorgeous little kid.
Nobody told me I was going to have to worry about things like this as a parent. So much of my worrying is taken up by the boys. I guess I'll have to reserve some of my worry quota for my daughter too.
I remember feeling that way when I was a kid. It hit me when I was about 12. Seems like they go through everything earlier these days. I was always self conscious about my arms. I thought they were too long. I was always pulling my shirts down over my hands. I think it just takes the hard fought maturity of age to feel comfortable in your own skin. Until then, lots of hugs help!
~Joey (Big Teeth & Clouds)
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