I recently asked my 4 year old daughter whether she liked a girl she does an extracurricular activity with and she put her hands on her hips, looked at me seriously, and said “Mom, she is just a fat girl!”.
I could not believe that my little girl (who is not perfect herself) said this, let alone said this to me. I was literally floored by her response and visions of my childhood ran in my mind.
You see I was that “fat girl” growing up. I still am to this day, but I have worked very hard not to mention how “fat” I was feeling in front of my kids. I wanted to shelter my children from the cruel reality that people will judge them on how they look, they will not give them a chance because they do not meet their standards of beauty, really I just didn’t want them to feel how I felt growing up. But then I think maybe my plan backfired because my daughter became the judgmental child I was trying to protect her from, because I didn’t teach her better.
You see my daughter, she inherited beautiful almond shaped eyes from her Persian father, she has a tiny waist but a behind that is bubbled up, and from me she got a missing tooth.
When her teeth started to come in I knew right away that what she inherited from my genes was bad teeth.
She is missing her lateral incisor on the left side and so she has a gap between her teeth. She is not aware that she has this flaw because I love to see her smile with all her teeth showing.
I love the way she throws her head back and opens her mouth and sings out loud. She loves to smile in pictures and to me she is beautiful. I am missing 2 lateral incisors (and 3 other teeth that never grew in, as well as 4 wisdom teeth that are nowhere to be found), and so to say I have gaps in my smile is an understatement. I don’t have any pictures where I smile with my teeth, I am shy when I meet new people and I cover my mouth when I feel someone is looking at me. I do not want these insecurities passed onto my daughter.
Yet she is putting them on other children and I know this needs to stop. I do want to expand a little bit on what happened at the activity though.
My daughter and this girl were playing the whole hour and have been playing every week together, laughing like hyenas, since February.
They have fun together; my daughter did not tell this girl what she told me, but the fact that she is thinking it makes me upset. I talked to her and told her that no one was perfect and that there will always be some one out in the world who will judge others just on their looks but I told her I didn’t want it to be her.
I would love some feed back on how to approach this subject with my daughter as I don’t feel I said enough, she knows not to bully and has felt the other side of that stick so I would like to know what other parents did or would do in my situation.