What To Do When Your Child Thinks They Are Ugly
This breaks my heart. How many of us as teens, or youngsters, were teased, ridiculed for they way we looked. Was it our hair, our teeth, or our bodies? How personally did you take it? I remember comparing myself to what I considered to be my much more attractive cousins, and I was very very insecure.
It hasn't been until recently, now in my 40's, that I've learned to accept myself for who I am, not how I appear to others. Now in my 40's, after all this time, I've started to watch people, and I've noticed that truly, what a person considers beauty is incredibly different from one person to another. I find beauty in the differences, and the personalities of those I meet. Indeed, we would have a bland existence if we all looked the same. I remember an old episode of The Twilight Zone that made a great point about this subject...what each of us considers to be beautiful can be very different from that of others.
The other day I heard one of my children say how they felt they were unattractive. Not just unattractive, that they felt they were actually "ugly". I felt terrible for them, because I remember being that age and thinking the same thing about myself. Isn't it funny that I can talk to many of my high school classmates today that had that same perception of themselves.
How do you help your child love the way they look right now? It's heartbreaking to watch their confidence dwindle because of their insecurities and feelings of how they think others see them.
Sometimes, there's nothing you can "say" as a parent to change their opinion of themselves; but there are things you can help them do.
ENCOURAGE YOUR KIDS TO GET PHYSICALLY ACTIVE
Whether it be school sporting activities, riding bike, dancing, or just taking the dog for a walk, physical activity actually helps reduce anxiety and feelings of self consciousness as well ward off depression. It can also help them jump start their metabolism, and help them get more lean and fit. Helping your child focus on their body more for performance rather than attractiveness, can help start building the self esteem process at this critical esteem building age.
OFFER SOLUTIONS TO THEIR DILEMMA
Kids are growing into their bodies at the preteen and teen ages. Some of the awkwardness is just a midpoint. But some things you can do to help...If they are having embarrassing acne issues, or have crooked teeth, make an appointment at a dermatologist to help with acne, and think about braces to give your child that beautiful smile they may desire. Help them find clothing and hair styles that suit them. Maybe ask a friend that they think is "stylish" to go shopping with you, to find them a great look.
TALK TO YOUR CHILD ABOUT WHAT THEIR STANDARDS ARE FOR BEAUTY
People come in all shapes and sizes. Short...tall...big...small...dark...light...flabby..fit..straight hair..curly hair...blue eyes...brown eyes...hazel eyes...teeth with spaces, teeth without...talked to your kids about what really makes a person attractive, which includes the uniqueness of their looks, compassion and personality.
TELL YOUR CHILD ABOUT THEIR BODY CHANGES
There are many books out there that can inform your child about what to expect as their body grows. It's better than you trying to rely on memory of what you went through. Plus, having a book on hand, even if they shrug their shoulders, it still gives them something to go to, should they have questions or concerns that they are not wanting to discuss with others. They also are probably not going to want to check out a book themselves at the library, so having it in their room to learn from is a good idea.
BEAUTY IN THE MEDIA
Your child needs to know that beauty in the media is exaggerated. The "Stars" have experts that make them look great every time they step in the spot light. Make up, lighting...Heck...who wouldn't look good if a professional hair and make up stylist was waiting for us to finish brushing our teeth every morning. Reality and Media are two VERY different things..Try to teach your kids that they are beautiful for Who they are...right now.
What do you say about yourself around your child? Do you talk bad about your own appearance, and then tell your child they look just like you? Watch what you say..and try to be positive about yourself. Kids learn by our example.