My daughter is 7 and her little personality has been developing into independence that I haven’t noticed before. She is a pleaser, soft spoken, shy, servant oriented, thoughtful, a “lil mama,” and self conscious.
I had started to notice little gestures and insecurities in the last year, but it has become quite apparent that she is concerned with her appearance within the last couple of months. I first started to notice that she put her hair purposely in her face on her left side. I determined with observation and listening to her soft mumblings that she was embarrassed by a scar she has above her left eye. To me it is barely noticeable, with a slight color change and approximately 6cm’s long. But to her it is like a neon sign drawing the attention of everyone around her.
When I understood why she was allowing chunks of her hair to be in her face, I talked AT her about true beauty, being embarrassed by being different, and trying to learn contentment in her design. A “Yay for me” parent moment, knowing I didn’t solve the problem but hopefully planted seeds of hope. I then willingly stuck my head back in the sand of desired ignorance, hoping my daughter will magically bypass the future appearance insecurities. Oh, if we could always live in a world of rainbows and butterflies…Darn It Eve!!!!
My daughter is now going through that crazy stage of loosing all her teeth at the same time! She has now lost 8 teeth total and they are all in different stages of regrowth. As a mom who loves to document the daily life of the Peel’s, I started noticing a pattern in my daughter’s behavior when I take pictures. She never shows her teeth! I had just received a picture of my daughter and her friend celebrating a playdate. Her friend with a huge toothy smile and my daughter with her lips tightly pushed together. My heart is a mixture of fire and sadness.
I have another opportunity, in a LONG line of future opportunities to address, and more importantly LOVE on my girl.
This struggle our kids face with insecurity with their appearance isn’t limited to age or gender. We all have faced and continue to do so, the irritation of feeling inadequate in our exterior. The only advantage we have in helping our kids overcome these strong opinions of self, is having a relationship with them! Here are some other suggestions when contemplating a conversation with your kid/teen concerning their appearance.
1) Admit your own insecurities, within healthy reason. We all have areas of our appearance we do not care for, however the point of sharing these is to normalize the feelings of inadequacies, NOT slamming yourself or winning the competition of who has it worse!
2) Modeling & Teaching Contentment. Demonstrating humility, and acceptance of the areas of life we cannot change, not limited to appearance, will be a life lesson of health.
3) Complimenting areas of character and personality that are within personal ability to change. This validates them as a person, and their existence has an impact on others!
4) Reminding them they are a Creation of The God of the Universe, and when that relationship was threatened, God sent His only SON to remedy the problem uniting our relationship for eternity! Therefore imparting to us pricelessness with our Flaws and ALL!
5) Limiting their exposure to images and content that distorts their perception of worth and beauty.
6) And finally, the most important part is spending intentional, face to face, within touching distance, truly listening, time together! We make time for the things that are important. Your kid/teen will know they have worth because you are there with them! Beauty becomes secondary when worth is established!
It’s always easier to Teach than Practice, however, I truly hope that when my daughter moves out of the house to be her own woman, that she will know that her parents love her, believe in her, and are proud of her, scars and all!