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Sunday, October 26, 2008

A disturbing trend

Tonight while I was cutting her hair, Lindsay started to look sad. I asked her what was wrong and she sighed and said "I wish I had long hair like the other girls at church." She then proceeded to tell me they tease her for having short hair. It is another drop in the bucket of something I am seeing more and more of lately.

Lindsay has become obsessed with her physical appearance. She's constantly asking if something makes her look pretty. What's bothersome to me even more is she has started talking about her weight, and asking about if she is supposed to lose it. (anyone that knows Lindsay knows the last thing that child needs to do is lose weight.) This just leaves me with a feeling of "WTH?"

We do everything "right". We don't make food an issue, we haven't exposed her to toys that I think make issues about looks. We don't watch tv, and we don't get magazines. We are sure to talk to her about looks not being important, that it's what's on the inside that counts, etc. When she asks me if something will make her pretty, I told her that she is always pretty, no matter what. That I think she is a beautiful person inside and out.

I'm just dying inside because this was something I had been trying so hard to avoid, and she's SO young. I mean, she's a kindergartener. Obsessed with whether or not she is pretty.

What do I do?

I wanted to add a picture of her. This was at her last birthday, almost a year ago, but still what she looks like. I think that when I say she's beautiful, it's not just because I am her mother and am biased. This beautiful soul worries about her weight and her looks, and I ache inside.



herself75 said...

I noticed this trend among the girls in my boys' classes as early as kindergarten too. SO sad! one girl in Andy's class was teased mercilessly for being a tom-boy.

the boys too are feeling pressure to be "cool" and only want to wear "cool" clothes. fortunately, weight isn't an issue among them.

whatever happened to being kids?

n810smom said...

aww she is beautiful and i think it is definitely peer pressure about weight :( it just starts younger and younger unfortunately.

Leah said...

She is pretty :-)

I have heard from the other parents that this has been an issue with our K girls as well. I hear the blame is being put on the extremely diverse ethic backgrounds in the class, because there are a few cultures who are much more weight and beauty conscious then you might expect. I know my friend's daughter (who doesn't have a ounce to spare) is very worried about being fat because of the conversations at school.

Sad that it starts so soon.

mama2reese said...

i saw this w/ my pre-k class (when i was working last year). often it is about hair, clothes, etc.

is there a bully gene? b/c i know many parents that do everything right - and those that do a few things wrong . . . and it just doesn't make sense!


ps. lindsay is very pretty :)

Anonymous said...

Oh this is sad, and I really hate this for you. My two yr old (almost 3 yo old) started worrying about being pretty lately... and i've been trying to tell her that pretty means she takes her baths and brush her hair, wears clean clothes etc (stressing hygene over anything else) and it worked for a while but now from other kids she is beginning to specifically distinguish what she thinks is neccessary to be pretty... so it's scary that the pressure starts so early...

I wish I had advice for you but I don't mine are little. But maybe she just needs to hear that she is pretty as she is... since she seems focused on her hair maybe if you could arrange to take her to the salon for her next trim and call ahead to schedule it warning them how she feels, maybe having a thrid party expert (aka the hairdresser) reassure her that you actually have to be prettier to pull off short hair and still be cute because you don't have extra hair to hide behind could boost her spirits (then again it could also possible feed it and make it worse too, I don't really know...)

best of luck with it though... it'll be a live long battle though so teaching her to recognize and really believe she is pretty and helping her identify what she loves about herself now will go a long way... she probably just knows what she doesn't like (which is likely based on what she's been teased about or what the teasers have that's different than her) and not spent much--if any--time thinking about what she does like... and it really can help, I didn't do this until I was an adult (married even) but it helped me a lot...

The Mrs. said...

Such is such a beautiful little girl! It makes me sick that she's thinking these things about herself at such a young age. Hugs to both of you!

Meghann said...

Thanks everyone. :)

Lacey said...

Jacey is doing the same thing...although I can't pinpoint exactly when it started. Did it start because of my surgery, media, kids in school...I don't know. *sigh*