To be happy in her skin..Post 7

.. is something that I want daughter to be.

I hear it from so many parents’ I grew up with this complex, I don’t want my child to ever feel like that’. And I guess, most of us do try to parent in a way which we believe is the best for our child.

The other day, a friend, a really sweet lady, who is great with her daughter, and I were walking back home after school. It is spring here, and schools have an optional summer uniform, which most students wear. Daughter was wearing it too, with little white socks. Her friend was wearing the black/grey regular uniform with grey tights. And I just asked, absent-mindedly, if she was not too hot in it, because it was a really warm day.

Her mother replied, that she is not comfortable with her daughter wearing socks, or showing her legs because she grew up with the complex that she had thin, dark legs, and now her daughter has the same. So she keeps her in tights or trousers. I was stunned.I could not understand how wearing tights would help? Wouldn’t she ask at some point, why she is the only child in class wearing tights on such a warm day? Or why she is never allowed clothes with socks or shorts? Would she not be far less likely to develop a complex, if parents did not make it an issue, rather than hiding her legs away, as if it were something to be ashamed of? And what a thing to be worried about! How about rejoicing in how sweet and adorable their daughter is? How about telling her that physical attributes don’t matter, and be proud of the person she is rather than focus on things which do not even matter in the long run(or in the short run, for that matter).

This child is also unhappy about her dark complexion. This is a 5 yr old we are talking about. And should I add that the little girl is a wonderful child, sensitive, friendly, but not at allΒ confident.

I have always felt that physical attributes need not be such a huge issue. After all, they are aspects, that no individual has any means of controlling. Can we help it if we are fair/dark/short/tall? Why make such a big deal about it? I have heard people say, ‘I want him to be tall’. Well, he might if he has the right genes in his DNA. No amount of wishing and hoping is going to change the way the child is. Β If a child who grows up hearing this, ends up being an average height, what is the possibility that he will develop a complex? After all what can be worse for your self-confidence than the knowledge that your parent thinks that you do not measure up? And that too for things that are in one’s control?

Another 5 yr old is worried that she is fat, and she is not fat by any means. I can’t help wonder where they get these ideas from. Why is the way they look so important. Although I am not surprised. Half the ‘girlie’ toys seem to have make-up and dressing up stuff. And to be honest, I have a hard time steering clear of them. Thankfully, daughter is not too keen on them. So it is easy to distract her. But when I see her friends wearing heels, and showing them off proudly, I can’t help wonder. Are we picking up things for our child that we wished we had (or based on our childhood experiences) or are we picking up things which make sense for our children. It worries me how all this will impact my daughter, but so far, she is not too bothered about skin colour or how she looks. She makes friends with children of all skin colours, and seems to be happy in her own skin. And that is all I want for her.

As parents, all we can do is try to bring up a child with a healthy body image. Give them the opportunity to take part in as many physical activities as possible,but not so that they can be tall/thin, but so that they are healthy and happy. Give them the confidence that they are happy in their own skin. Bring them up so that they know that looks are indeed skin-deep, but personality is what shines through!

32 thoughts on “To be happy in her skin..Post 7

  1. good point I think too much of Info is also bad, thats why kids now see it that way. I do rmemeber when iw as growing the Gora – kala issue but that was it .. now adays its thin – fat- ugly – long hair short hair GODDDDDDDDDddd .. I had a similar thing day before in leeds one of my friends son told me he did not want to go to school as he had thin legs.. I mean WHATTTTTT..

    Goodness! That is so sad! A child who doesnot want to go to school because of ideas like this 😦

    I blame the media and all everyone wants to be one of those actors … We do have to be very careful as these things can effect a person growing up ..

    I agree. Most children seem to be growing up with these ideas of ‘beauty’ and looks being more important than everything else.

    and as you said we should give the kids enough confidence and yeah participating in activites will help a lot…
    Yes, as far as they are allowed to do what they enjoy and not what the parents deem ‘necessary’. I met someone who wanted their child to learn swimming to ‘improve his height’!

  2. Well written Smitha πŸ™‚

    God , Now I know where kids all these ideas from . Making the child wear only tights bcoz she had such a problem :0 What will the child think of herself !

    I know! I felt so sorry for the child. And already she is the only child dressing like that in school.. I am sure she will start questioning it soon..

    But even when parents stay clear from skin colour the world doesn’t . There are so many out there who thinks otherwise 😦
    I agree. But if we as parents reinforce that skin colour is of no importance, hopefully it will be imprinted in a child’s mind, and hopefully, they will realize that things like this don’t matter. But when parents themselves think like this, what hope does a child have?

  3. Absolutely, Smits! What is important is to feel happy in the skin that you are. I wonder if parents who pull their kids down with such narrow-minded approach, even realize how much damage they are doing to the confidence of their little ones?

  4. i think mothers are somewhat responsible for creating those insecurities. as a parent you are supposed to explain them that there are manythings beyond looking good..

    • Absolutely! As parents, we should wipe away those insecurities, and tell them that these things do not matter.. Instead if the parents themselves foster such insecurities, then it is bound to impact the child.

  5. very true. whats important is to be confident and to love oneself. Complexion and weight are anyways very overrated. it important to have the child believe in self. i am sure you are doing a wonderful job..

  6. This is so sad to read. We all set out to do the right things for our kids but somewhere down the line do let our insecurities play a part as well.
    Thanks for the reminder to keep myself out of the picture and let Buzz learn to be her own person who is confident and happy.

  7. This is why I love, like really loveeeeeeeeee your blog. You always have the most decent and neat way of drilling sensible things into an otherwise clogged minds πŸ™„

    My heart goes out to the little one. 5 year old and she has already started worrying about her legs?? sigh….no wonder there is so much demand for plastic surgery among teenagers πŸ˜₯

    I have always believed that it is the near and dear ones opinion about yourself that can either make you strong or break you as a child.

    My husband finds it so amusing that I can always laugh hysterically when someone makes a joke about how thin I am πŸ™„ I even help them by adding some fine examples of my look alike πŸ˜‰ I think I am least bothered about what people say about me coz every single day I hear “how awesome I am” from all those who really matter in my life and love me for what I am :mrgreen: 😈

    How can Poohi be not confident and happy when she has such a clear and sparkling minded Mom to guide her??

  8. Sometimes parents pass on their fears and complexes to their children unknowingly. On one hand I see kids in this country downing cheese burger for breakfast and getting obese and on the other hand is the vomiting kind who thinks bone show is sexy. Such a tough job to be a parent!

  9. 5 year olds lacking confidence and worrying about their legs is really sad. I am glad Poohi has a mother like you .. at least you think and weigh the consequences of your decisions/thoughts before you impose them on your child πŸ™‚

  10. A wonderful post that gently reminds us of the harm we knowingly/unknowingly be doing to the little kids around us.It takes a lot of conscious effort to think beyond one’s own insecurities and beliefs and let our children grow unconditionally πŸ˜€
    Poohi is sure lucky to have a mum like you πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€

  11. It is truly scary. And it scars kids for life. I know the case of my cousin who has a dusky complexion. She grew up hearing barbs from her mom who herself was dark and wished fro a fairer complexion. Her mother used to constantly compare her to her fairer cousins and make her feel inferior. My cousin grew up ashamed of her colour and looks until she reached college and got the company of some wonderful friends who instilled courage in her and told her to love her for herself.

    She’s fine today, and is proud of her dusky skin. She looks stunning, I must say. But I know kids who don’t grow out of it and ultimatley pass it on their own kids too 😦 It’s truly sad…. Why do parents pass this on to children, I’ll never understand…

  12. Smitha, I have said this earlier, and I say it all over again now. You are one fantastic mom. I wish there were more like you around. However, typical Indian society’s notion of beauty is ‘slim, fair, pretty’. They don’t care much about self-worth or self-confidence. Which is a real pity! I think atleast those of us who have been a victim of such ridiculous notions should take extra efforts to ensure that our kids don’t go through it too. Instead, we end up forcing our insecurities upon our innocent kids!!

  13. I totally agree with you. As parents our job is to instill confidence in them. But sometimes in enthusiasm parents make them do things which they had missed in life!!!! Sigh!

  14. Truly sad!! It’s our responsibility as parents to instill the right thoughts/habits in kids. This will surely have a psychological impact on the kid which will grow only deeper, if not corrected now!!

    • I agree, Shilpa. I feel sad when I see parents offloading their insecurities to their children rather than ensuring that the children grow up without these insecurities.

  15. Such small kiddos worrying about their looks is not at all good…. This is the best phase of their life and they should be really not worrying about such insignificant things… We have been lucky to have such wonderful moms and we really owe our carefree and happy childhood to them…. πŸ™‚

      • The video makes so much sense, but Unilever? That just shows that when it comes to making money, all ethics are conveniently put aside 😦

        And what would a child do if the parents themselves worry about how fair/dark/thin/short the children are?

  16. Pingback: For a child to be a child.. Post 12 « Any Excuse to Write…

  17. Yes…. so true, kids are receptive… and if we talk about ‘being fat’ they will pick it up.. and say, oh I cant eat this, since it will make me fat.

    Its a two fold thing: Lead by example, so shove your own securities aside.. and two… if they are concious of something, let them get over it

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