How Things We Say Affect Kids: Body Shaming

self-control

Normally I am a light hearted writer, I try to find the good in everything, I may have some first world problems when it comes to parenting but I need to tell you all a story. This might be you, your child, your mother, your friend, your relative, or your neighbor. Being a woman is a HARD thing. Society thinks that we all need to be runway ready, tall and thin. Body shaming is very real issue. We are shamed for when we are none of that. We are called lazy, fat, sloppy, unmotivated, or some other horrible terms. Why is this? What is this pressure that we all endure one way or another in our life? Why do a select few get to dictate how we “should” live our life? Why is there such a thing as body shaming? I HAVE NO BLEEPING IDEA!

Now that I am a mom, who notices these imperfections in the mirror I need to watch how I critique myself. I know we all don’t love our bodies, some of us do, some don’t. I get it, ladies. While we are finding our “imperfections” we have 4+ ears listening to us complain about what we see. They hear what we say and it sinks in with them and can have a lasting impression.

Now that my twins are in school, they are being influenced by other children. These children are hearing and absorbing what their parents are saying. One day after school I got to hear how if girls keep eating a lot of food they are going to get fat. Deep breath! Yes, I heard correctly, my impressionable daughter told me that if she eats a lot of food she will get fat. So I asked her where she heard it, and I was told that her friend’s mother had told her friend that. A kindergartener already being subjected to this type of behavior?! I am normally quick on my feet when it comes to conversations and I could not form any words. I know the mother of this child from the gym. I see how dedicated the mother is at the gym, she is in great shape. But my heart was broken. I tried to explain to my daughter that it was not true and I was asked why I was fat. (Head meet the wall, stop. This needs to stop now). My world stopped and I had flashbacks….

mom and tween

I grew up thin. I would eat what I wanted, I was active, I was invincible and would not gain weight. I had friends tell me they wished they were like me, but little did they know in a few years I would wish I was like them. High school came along and puberty hit, yes total late bloomer here. I started getting some curves in half the right places, other places I was not so lucky. However, that moment when I started gaining some weight in my stomach area, my mother was first to point it out to me. She would not leave me alone. Pestering me about my portion size. Did I need that extra snack? Was pizza a good choice for dinner? You name it, it was said to me. I did not know what to do. I would look at myself and see a tiny little pooch, but look at my mother and wonder “why is she talking to me like this? She is by no means skinny, in fact, the opposite”.

I would start to starve myself, passing out at school since I refused to eat 90% of the time. I would later turn to drinking alcohol to try to forget what was being done to me. I believed my mom, she was my mom I had to believe her. Right? After high school, I had moved out and moved on with my life. I was free! I felt a huge change. I didn’t have to worry about the comments, that was until I would get together for the holidays. They were the worst. I would intentionally hit the gym harder and starve myself. I knew it was bad but I didn’t want to hear it from my mother. I was almost put up against a wall and one day I just stopped listening to her. I look back now and it’s silly because I was thin. I finally just stopped trying to please her and took care of myself. Still to this day, she has NO idea what she had done to me.

I knew children were sponges, but to hear my daughter repeat that statement I knew that time I needed to keep my mouth shut about body image. It is a horrific thing that is pressured by society as a whole. Women are not meant to be larger than a size 4, have a full sized chest, a rear like it came from Brazil, and many other things. Men are supposed to be tall, muscular, good hair, and be a certain size below the belt. While I cannot vouch for the struggles men are faced with, but I see my husband want to build muscle, and he questions his hairline.

how-things-we-say-affect-kids_-body-shaming

I see every day the criticism that women face. I see women attacking each other and pointing out their flaws on social media. It needs to stop. Our children are very impressionable and we need to give them confidence. We need to help them grow up to have the tough skin to ignore what is pressured on us. We need to watch what we say about ourselves to not let this crazy cycle continue. I try my best to keep my children healthy, but sometimes that drive thru is just the easiest thing that allows me to continue life and be sane. I’m not going to point out my daughters’ imperfections, I’m going to show her that we all are different, especially my fraternal daughters being a HUGE example- as they are literally opposites when it comes to looks.

I hope my struggles that I battled when I was younger and my experience with my kindergartener shows you that what is said to our children can have a lasting impression. We need to let our children be the best that they are. We need to love ourselves for what we have been through. While we might not be perfect, but I’m pretty sure you are perfect in your twins eyes. And you know what? I think you’re perfect how you are! Let’s start uplifting each other instead of trying to find flaws.

Anonymous


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