Friday, March 1, 2013

On a More Serious Note...

I heard something a couple of weeks ago that made me very angry. It's something that I hear often, and every time I see red. A woman said that she didn't want to take her 3 year old daughter out to lunch because she believes the girl is getting fat. I hear parents lamenting the fact that their precious darlings are growing up too fast. I agree, childhood is all too brief a period of one's lifetime. The fact that these same parents can turn around and call their children fat- or lazy, stupid, even ugly!- baffles me. It's statements like this, while often not directed at the child him or herself, that let kids know they're not good enough.

Kids, especially girls, have a lot of images thrown at them from an early age. Barbies and Bratz, songs like Call Me Maybe and Give Your Heart a Break, and clothing that makes a little girl look like a grown woman. They don't need adults adding to confusion that they might have surrounding their body image. Babies shouldn't look good in skinny jeans. Even if you can make the legs lie flat on those adorable, pudgy little legs, the diaper bulge is inevitable. Toddlers are going to have a layer of baby fat on their bodies, too. It's a sign of a healthy child, for crying out loud! While I'm just not cool enough to understand animal prints, faux fur and pleather on infants, I am very comfortable saying the word Sexy has no place on a toddlers butt.

 When the people who are supposed to love them unconditionally find them lacking, how are children supposed to develop a healthy self esteem? At best one can hope for a withdrawn, insecure child. At worst? I hate to even imagine what a parent is capable of doing to a child with some regrettably timed phrases. I do know that most children will do anything they can to gain the approval of the adults in their lives and emulate them. That is a perfect recipe for creating bullies. Jennifer Livingston is a million times more eloquent than I could ever be.