I'm so tired of the value people place in a child's looks!! Vent! - Page 3 - Mothering Forums

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#61 of 71 Old 12-08-2010, 09:11 AM
 
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I think people are missing a key aspect of the original poster's concern. What is said to children, over and over and over again affects them. It helps shape their conception of self and who they believe they can become. Particularly for girls it is a disturbing message to hear again and again that people are defining you by your looks. There are many troublesome components of this. As one poster mention often this attention is not distributed evenly in the family and and a child may hear every day the suggestion that her sister is prettier. Such frequent comments can feel like a kind of monitoring feeding into dieting among other troublesome behaviors.

A child will learn more from her parent's reaction to random people's random comments than she EVER will from those comments.  If you want your child to be kind to strangers, you have to model that and not get irritated when random people are just trying to be nice.

 

 


 

I see it as a lot more complicated than that. In reality children are influenced by people other than parents. If we didn't believe that we'd just leave them in the care of random strangers without giving it a thought. For most teen girls I worry a lot less than they'd end up impolite, and a lot more about depending on these comments or feeling pressure based on receiving them. I don't think anyone is suggesting that the poster go about trying to model being rude, but rather there is a point where these comments can be damaging and it is appropriate for a parent to set limits.

 

Also, I think this may be a case where you have to have experienced it to really understand the matter of degree. The occasional comment is really different from being followed around in a public place or in the privacy of a family gathering.
 

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#62 of 71 Old 12-08-2010, 10:40 AM
 
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I'm sure they aren't meaning DH and are are horrible looking lol :) I recently started razzing people about "Oh? you're shocked he came out of us are you?" lol.gif He has unique eyes too, really deep blue that look unnatural (like his mother's orngbiggrin.gif)

 

 

More to the point, people are going to comment on looks no matter what. What else is there to talk about? There is the weather and babies. It's always safe to talk about the rain, and how cute someone's baby is. People who ask intrusive questions like when you are going to get them into acting or modeling or pagents are nuts. They probably ask big women when the baby is due. Some people have no brain-mouth filter and every thought they have comes out. I've noticed a lot of ladies have comments the Arian look is most praised and "All American Beauty". I find that people would rather look at (and praise) something unusual, Like a dark skinned baby with blue eyes, or crazy wild green eyes.

 

I also very much disagree that kids pick up more from random strangers than their parents. I had to re-learn a lot of things when I became older. My father is a bigot, and spouted a lot of things I have since found to not be so accurate. Things I could have learned from society or even just media, but instead, I got from my Dad, then later society let me know I had the wrong idea.

 

I think we don't leave our children in the care of strangers because we are worried about their safety, not becuase we think they will glean an eating disorder or become a racist. I leave DS with 'strangers' every day when I work out at the Y.

 

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I wouldn't think that they are shocked by you and your dh having such a beautiful baby - my ds gets that too.  Even teenage boys comment on my ds's eyes - they are stunning, and the teen boys get the biggest smiles from ds, they always comment on how beautiful his eyes are, and have that same honesty and shock that you are talking about.  It's pretty funny, and I'm pretty sure it has nothing to do with me.  Or, I'm going to assume its nothing to do with me :lol


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#63 of 71 Old 12-08-2010, 10:04 PM
 
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OP, I haven't read all the other posts but I wanted to chime in. We have the same issue with our son, who is very, very photogenic and cute. Since he was born we can hardly go anywhere without comments about how he should be in modeling or commercials, etc.

 

We have a different situation though, because DH and I are both former models ourselves. We both did it in our teenage years and early 20s. So we actually tell people, "Well, we did that ourselves and we would not want that life for our child, because it's not all that people think it is" and that shuts people up pretty fast. We save that line for the really annoying people. Most of the time, we just say Thank you and move on. Unless they are really pushing it.

 

The hardest part for us is the family members who do NOT understand why would not do it. But by now, since he's 3, they know we absolutely will not do it, and we are going to try our best to discourage him from doing it on his own when he grows up. It just really goes against the values we are trying to instill. So, I feel your pain, and I can say from personal experience, it absolutely will not benefit your child to do it, even if he makes money from it. Obviously, there are alot of things way more important than money!

 

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#64 of 71 Old 12-09-2010, 07:13 AM
 
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People used to say that my son should be a model (when he was younger.)  When people would bring up how adorable, beautiful (etc) he is, I would say things like "He's also quite a caring, sweet, kind, clever" (etc).  I would then say something like "if only there was a way to showcase how thoughtful and kind a child is instead of focusing on outward appearance."


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#65 of 71 Old 12-09-2010, 09:25 AM
 
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To the OP,  I wonder what would happen if you were politely honest with this woman who is being so pushy with you?  You have the right to disagree with her, even publicly.  Just tell her, in polite terms, the same things you've told us. 

 

The ball would be in her court. Yes, it IS confrontational.  People might be shocked, but there is no fault in stating your opinion. She's free to disagree and engage you in civil discourse.

 

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My daughter? Also tall, also white-blonde, and people also comment. I just smile and say, "Yes, she is tall, just like her mother." I think that sometimes people are just looking for an acknowledgment of the obvious. It's a connecting point for them. On my more-tired days, I have considered making a hat for her that says, "Yes, I'm tall." mischievous.gif

 

 

I know I do this.  Every time I see my nieces and nephews when it's been a while: Look how big you've grown! You're already six years old?? Wow, you're a ninth grader already?!   duh.gif  What, did I think they were going to stop growing?   orngtongue.gif


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#66 of 71 Old 12-09-2010, 09:59 AM
 
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relatives kept saying the "you've grown so much" to my sisters and I for like, 5 years after we stopped growing. seriously, it's just annoying when you haven't grown an eighth of an inch in several years. our aunts and uncles just expected us to have grown, so they were seeing it even though it wasn't there. 


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#67 of 71 Old 12-09-2010, 10:32 AM
 
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 "What do you think about the price of Tea in China?"

 

I use that one alot. And it takes long enough for the person to try and figure out what youre talking about that you can move on to a different topic very quickly.

 

However, I have a similiar issue now that my daughter is in dance. She perfomrs several times a year and this month alone she has 12 pictures on our communitys website. Everyone thinks she is so sweet in her little outfit and her little hat and big blue eyes.

 

But they dont look twice at her when we put her tinted glasses on and give her her leg braces and cane (she is VI).

 

She knows the difference even now at 6, and it bugs me. However, I try to ensure she knows that its b/c of how well she dances, not how cute she is that everyone wants to take her pictures.

 

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#68 of 71 Old 12-09-2010, 10:39 AM
 
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 ALso having a child with Albinism, I understand completely. Altho her hair is grey. When she was a baby she had a NG feeding tube plasted to her face for her first year. I NEVER got those "ISnt she cute" comments. It broke my heart that no one thought she was cute. And even now, as beautiful as she is, you can see something is different.

 

I remember having a women say in a loud shrill voice "Oh my GOD. Look at how pale that kid is. I cant stop looking."

 

And all the people who tell us how beautiful she is all dressed up in her dance outfits dont give her a second glance when she has on her glasses (tinted green/grey to 70%), her White cane and her plastic leg braces.

 

Poor kid.

 

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#69 of 71 Old 12-09-2010, 12:33 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Roar View Post



Quote:
Originally Posted by happysmileylady View Post



Quote:
Originally Posted by Roar View Post

I think people are missing a key aspect of the original poster's concern. What is said to children, over and over and over again affects them. It helps shape their conception of self and who they believe they can become. Particularly for girls it is a disturbing message to hear again and again that people are defining you by your looks. There are many troublesome components of this. As one poster mention often this attention is not distributed evenly in the family and and a child may hear every day the suggestion that her sister is prettier. Such frequent comments can feel like a kind of monitoring feeding into dieting among other troublesome behaviors.

A child will learn more from her parent's reaction to random people's random comments than she EVER will from those comments.  If you want your child to be kind to strangers, you have to model that and not get irritated when random people are just trying to be nice.

 

 


 

I see it as a lot more complicated than that. In reality children are influenced by people other than parents. If we didn't believe that we'd just leave them in the care of random strangers without giving it a thought. For most teen girls I worry a lot less than they'd end up impolite, and a lot more about depending on these comments or feeling pressure based on receiving them. I don't think anyone is suggesting that the poster go about trying to model being rude, but rather there is a point where these comments can be damaging and it is appropriate for a parent to set limits.

 

Also, I think this may be a case where you have to have experienced it to really understand the matter of degree. The occasional comment is really different from being followed around in a public place or in the privacy of a family gathering.
 

Of course it's more complicated that, there's little in parenting than simple:D  And of course, if someone is rudely pushing anything on you all the time, or following you repeating the same thing, yeah, you absolutely should say something to them.  And that falls right back into modeling the behaviors we want our kids to have, I wouldn't want my kid to just put up with someone being rude like that all the time either. 

 

But to come up with some snappy comeback to someone who is just giving a nice compliment, well I think that is really going to have the opposite effect from what the OP seems to want.  If they start getting rude by following and insisting, yeah, then say something. 

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#70 of 71 Old 12-09-2010, 04:56 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Marissamom View Post

relatives kept saying the "you've grown so much" to my sisters and I for like, 5 years after we stopped growing. seriously, it's just annoying when you haven't grown an eighth of an inch in several years. our aunts and uncles just expected us to have grown, so they were seeing it even though it wasn't there. 



People grow in ways other than up.  My cousin's appearance hasn't changed in years, (weight/height wise anyway), but every time I see her she looks more grown-up, more mature, older.  People may stop getting taller, but they don't stop growing and changing, and becoming grown-ups.  The changes are obvious to people who don't see you all the time, but they aren't obvious to you (general "you") - its meant to be a compliment, not an insult.

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#71 of 71 Old 12-09-2010, 08:13 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marissamom View Post

relatives kept saying the "you've grown so much" to my sisters and I for like, 5 years after we stopped growing. seriously, it's just annoying when you haven't grown an eighth of an inch in several years. our aunts and uncles just expected us to have grown, so they were seeing it even though it wasn't there. 



People grow in ways other than up.  My cousin's appearance hasn't changed in years, (weight/height wise anyway), but every time I see her she looks more grown-up, more mature, older.  People may stop getting taller, but they don't stop growing and changing, and becoming grown-ups.  The changes are obvious to people who don't see you all the time, but they aren't obvious to you (general "you") - its meant to be a compliment, not an insult.



except they usually did say something about being taller. there's a point at which it just gets annoying. if the relatives were saying we were more grown-up, it would have been totally different. but when someone is "stating the obvious" and says something that's completely not true, for years on end, it can get to the point where it's just insulting. like they don't actually bother to really pay attention to you to remember that you've been that tall for a few years now. 


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