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#1 of 27 Old 11-12-2011, 09:42 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm always concerned when I notice my girls showing a little too much vanity.  Not just in their appearance but in themselves as a whole.  DD2 is very vain.  To the point that I have to constantly reminder that what on the outside isn't nearly as important as what is on the inside.  I watch shows on TV with them and the shows that seem to promote it, are not allowed in our house.  I think we're failing somewhere though. 

 

We live in a predominately Hispanic area and our girls are not the norm.  Bright green eyes and light hair so a lot of people comment on their looks.  I wouldn't mind so much if it didn't seem to be going to their heads.  I've heard DD1 tell a friend that everyone thinks she beautiful and DD2 goes on and on about how beautiful she is.  I want to yell Beauty is only skin deep!!!!!!  I don't want them to think they're unattractive I just don't want them to dwell on their appearance!  Any thoughts on how to approach this or things I can say after they've been showered with compliments to balance it all out?

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#2 of 27 Old 11-12-2011, 04:25 PM
 
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I think that if you attempt to follow every compliment with a semi-anti-complement that you're zeroing in their focus on praise and compliments rather than teaching them "it doesn't matter". 

 

It serves your kids better to teach them how to graciously accept compliments, and how to compliment others (in other words, how to see lovely things in other people).

 

Kids in general, developmentally, are pretty egotistical (both in a "well, of course I'm awesome" sense but also in a "Wow, that bad thing happened, it must be *all my fault*.). I think very few creatures have the self-esteem of a primary-grader (6-10y) (of course, there are exceptions!) So if your daughters are "vain" it's probably NOT because they get complimented by people--they may just feel competent and good because they are secure and haven't had people telling them otherwise (thank god).

 

Beauty isn't skin deep.  There's nothing wrong (or essential) about physical beauty.  Bodies/Faces change over time (beautiful kids don't always retain their beauty in adolescence and beyond, and kids not thought of as beautiful sometimes fit the societal profile of it as they mature!), and so do other things that are complimented--athletic ability, musical ability, intelligence...all of these things can be relative as the person gets older/moves in different circles.  I think you need to be really careful about not unintentionally hyperfocusing your kids on physicality (which can happen if you are so upset about positive references that you want to knock it down!) or setting up a situation where your kids think that mom thinks they're bad (which if you find yourself needing to correct the nice things people say about them, they may get that feeling.)

 

How are you at accepting compliments?  Do you model it well?  Or are you automatically rejecting or overly dependent?  As hard as it's been for me to do this, I think I've done a good job teaching my kids how to accept compliments graciously and to enjoy complimenting others.  My kids have had their egotistical/I'm awesome undeserved moments, but they've moved in and out of it with their peers by my observation.  Now that she's entered into puberty, I notice my daughter becoming more inwardly critical (even though she's still complimented, and doesn't have a lot of exposure to mainstream media stuff), along with some of her friends who are going through the same.  Getting told she was beautiful didn't seem to help or hinder that.  She often thinks that she has poor skills in things that she's always excelled at that don't have anything to do with physical appearance at the same time too.

 

So I would relax about it if I were you.  Or talk about it, acknowledging that she enjoys receiving compliments from others, does it make her feel good?  How could she "pass on" that feeling to other people (not just appearance)?   

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#3 of 27 Old 11-12-2011, 05:14 PM
 
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My dd tends to say a lot of good things about herself and I reinforce them by agreeing.  She also says very nice things to and about other people on a frequent basis.  I see nothing wrong with thinking that you are pretty, smart, artistic, creative, etc...  I hope that she carries on having a positive self-image and wanting to build other people up into adulthood. 
 

If their vanity truly only self-centered though then I think trying to find ways to model building other people up might be a good thing to do.  I sometimes talk briefly about how something probably made a character feel when we watch a movie because it helps my dd with her bluntness (something she also tends towards) and it may help your dd's with seeing the good in other people. 

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#4 of 27 Old 11-12-2011, 05:34 PM
 
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Be very careful about rejecting or ignoring the compliments they receive. As a young child, I got lots of compliments about my beauty. NONE from my Mom angry.gif so that my "head didn't get too big". I have never EVER forgotten. Every child wants acceptance from their Mom and Dad.

I would try to teach them to compliment others while affirming their beauty inside and out.
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#5 of 27 Old 11-12-2011, 05:51 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Ok good stuff to go on, thanks ladies.  I don't accept compliments well.  I never received them inside the home only outside the home.  I generally get annoyed with them.  Lately I've done better.  At work if someone says I look nice I say thanks.  Some times I say thanks I showered as a way to deflect what I feel to be uncomfortable.  Maybe not good...  Maybe the problem is me rather than my girls.  They do say nice things to others.  Maybe I'm very one sided about all this.  I've always pushed how smart they are and how wonderful they are.  I do tell them they are beautiful but I always follow it with how smart I think they are and how great I think they are. 

 

Mama has got to work on herself I gather.

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#6 of 27 Old 11-12-2011, 09:18 PM
 
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If someone says one of your DD's is pretty, could you sometimes just just add in something positive but not appearance-related? Like she got 10/10 on her spelling, or she helped a friend with something or whatever? There's nothing wrong with feeling good about their appearance, just not disproportionally, right?


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#7 of 27 Old 11-13-2011, 06:31 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I just didn't want them value their looks over their books.   Ha, a rhyme.  I don't want them to feel their worth and value by how they look.  I was just getting nervous they were though.
 

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If someone says one of your DD's is pretty, could you sometimes just just add in something positive but not appearance-related? Like she got 10/10 on her spelling, or she helped a friend with something or whatever? There's nothing wrong with feeling good about their appearance, just not disproportionally, right?



 

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#8 of 27 Old 11-13-2011, 10:36 PM
 
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I have awful self esteem.I figure if I raise girls who think they're hot shit in the looks department I'll have done ok, but only if they realise that there's more to life and themselves than their looks.

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#9 of 27 Old 11-14-2011, 08:48 AM
 
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I just didn't want them value their looks over their books.   Ha, a rhyme.  I don't want them to feel their worth and value by how they look.  I was just getting nervous they were though.
 


 

I know what you mean.

 

My situation is a little funky. Both my DD's are very pretty. One has special needs. On one hand, I don't want my DDs to ever think that there value lies in being decorative. At the same time, with one child for whom school comes quite easily and one who works far harder with less tangible results, value being related to academics seems just as dodgy to me as looks. Being smart doesn't make one a good person, nor does it bring happiness. Kids can be snobs about their grades just as their looks, and while most of us would agree studying is a better use of time than applying makeup, it still isn't a solid thing to build a sense of self on. I know kids who thought they were OK because they were smarter than others, just to go off to college and find out that they were big fish in a little pond, and their entire sense of self fail apart.

 

Anything we deem us proving our worth that is based on what other people do or think is very flimsy. There is a GREAT speech in Little Women where Marmmy tells her DDs what she values in them -- their character.  I think that you could tell your DD that she is beautiful, but that there are other things about her that you value more. How she treats others, handles responsibilities, her sense of humor, etc. What ever those special things are about her. At some point, she will doubt whether she is pretty, or pretty enough, or pretty in the right ways, or if people like her because she is pretty or because they actually like her as a person. Help build up her list of wonderful things about herself to carry her through those times.

 

I don't think there is any thing wrong with enjoying being attractive. It is partly about self confidence, radiating inner happiness, etc. I don't think there's anything wrong with enjoying clothes or styling our hair or any of that. It's all fun, and fun is good. 

 

But it isn't why we have value. It isn't what makes us OK as humans.


but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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#10 of 27 Old 11-14-2011, 02:58 PM
 
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Ever since reading "How to Talk so Kids Will Listen" , I try to use noticing type compliments rather than labeling types, whether it's about looks or grades or manners.  As in, "I see you got some words right on your final test that you didn't get right on the pretest.  You must have studied." instead of "Look how smart you are" or "I like how you choose clothes that fit you well" rather than "You look so pretty" or "I really appreciate how you remembered to wait your turn speaking to your Grammy " rather than "You're such a good boy".  Once in a while I might use the pretty or smart or good label, but I try not to do it too much.  I'm trying to notice action rather than some sort of innate matter of being, although I don't get too rigid with myself about it.

 

I have a hard time with compliments and favours from people, too.  I once had a friend (a minister, in fact) remind me that really it isn't right to brush off compliments or say "You shouldn't have" when people do you a favour (I know we were only discussing compliments, but sometimes how we handle favours is related) because people should say and do kind things for each other.  It really is more polite to simply say thank-you and mean it, and make sure you compliment others in such a way as you feel will let them know they are valued but without making them uncomfortable.  It's not easy. I still squirm if I hear how smart I am from someone (I really feel like I'm back in grade school and the "smart" is another way of saying "weird"). I have a hard time knowing what is an appropriate or comfortable compliment for others.  But I guess it's in the trying and I try to convey my efforts to the kids in conversation.


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#11 of 27 Old 11-16-2011, 05:01 PM
 
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Along the lines of some previous posts, I think it is okay to validate beauty but also talk about basic human worth and dignity not being at all related to such characteristics.   My daughter is often complimented for academic and musical success and sometimes gets a big head about it.  I compliment her for "working hard" and "perseverance" and stuff but also remind her that no matter how great she is at something, it doesn't make her any better or more worthy than anyone else, that everyone is unique and has gifts and it is our responsibility to work our hardest and use our gifts to the best of our ability, and making sure no one is ever made to feel bad because some things don't come so naturally to them.  Does that make sense?

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#12 of 27 Old 11-17-2011, 09:57 AM
 
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Ok good stuff to go on, thanks ladies.  I don't accept compliments well.  I never received them inside the home only outside the home.  I generally get annoyed with them.  Lately I've done better.  At work if someone says I look nice I say thanks.  Some times I say thanks I showered as a way to deflect what I feel to be uncomfortable.  Maybe not good...  Maybe the problem is me rather than my girls.  They do say nice things to others.  Maybe I'm very one sided about all this.  I've always pushed how smart they are and how wonderful they are.  I do tell them they are beautiful but I always follow it with how smart I think they are and how great I think they are. 

 

Mama has got to work on herself I gather.


 

Stop saying that!  Just say thanks.  If I told someone they looked nice, and they responded that they showered I think I don't know what I would think, but it wouldn't be good. Especially at work, since how you are perceived by others is important in getting raises, promotions, etc (I don't know what type of work environment it is).  So...know the phrase, Fake it till you make it?  Fake confidence at work at least, even if its only when someone compliments you.



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If someone says one of your DD's is pretty, could you sometimes just just add in something positive but not appearance-related? Like she got 10/10 on her spelling, or she helped a friend with something or whatever? There's nothing wrong with feeling good about their appearance, just not disproportionally, right?



I really don't like this, and I think its because it gives the impression that you don't think looks are worth complimenting, or that being pretty is a bad thing to compliment.

 

And, I'm with Linda on the move - value shouldn't be in looks or smarts, or really any tangible thing necessarily.  I think its OK for kids to feel good about themselves with regards to smarts and looks, and other things, but those shouldn't be the reasons we value our children or determine how we compliment them or respond to compliments they receive.

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#13 of 27 Old 11-17-2011, 06:21 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks I showered makes people laugh... makes me feel more comfortable with the situation.  Fake it til you make it?  I got a 20 thousand dollar raise this year and I didn't fake it!  I am great at what I do.  My value has nothing to do with my looks.  Though I'd have to say I don't look to shabby... after I shower.  HA!

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#14 of 27 Old 11-17-2011, 08:45 PM
 
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I also think it's possible to over think things. Kids this age are vain. Dd (7) sight-read a pretty complicated song on the piano (one she's singing for her choir), and dh said "that's pretty impressive". Her response? "I know." eyesroll.gif

 

I think as long as her life is balanced, and she's proud of what she she can do, I'd relax. I wouldn't add "and she got a good grade on her spelling test" or "she reads really well" to comments about how she looks. That's not so subtly telling her that you don't think her looks matter.


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#15 of 27 Old 11-18-2011, 05:32 AM
 
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I agree with your underlying principle, but I think you're overthinking this. Kids this age are vain, and it doesn't mean as much to them as it does to vain adults. They still think the world rotates around them and they're the most interesting thing in it. It's developmental and not a sign that they'll grow to be shallow and vain. I wouldn't follow it up with more compliments, but I'd acknowledge that they like how they look, and maybe also ask if there's anything else they like about themselves as well to give them some balance.

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I agree with your underlying principle, but I think you're overthinking this. Kids this age are vain, and it doesn't mean as much to them as it does to vain adults. They still think the world rotates around them and they're the most interesting thing in it


 

It also pretty much falls apart for them in the middle school years. Just as vanity is normal at this age, in a couple of years, lack of confidence and fear that they are the LEAST interesting people, and possibly weirdest and least likable people,  in the world is normal.

 

The more we stay grounded in seeing their actual worth as human beings, the easier the whole thing is for them. Cuz figuring out if they are OK as people can be a bit of a roller coaster for kids.

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#17 of 27 Old 11-18-2011, 08:44 AM
 
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It also pretty much falls apart for them in the middle school years. Just as vanity is normal at this age, in a couple of years, lack of confidence and fear that they are the LEAST interesting people, and possibly weirdest and least likable people,  in the world is normal.

 

The more we stay grounded in seeing their actual worth as human beings, the easier the whole thing is for them. Cuz figuring out if they are OK as people can be a bit of a roller coaster for kids.


Yep, and I'd add that it happens for boys too. Ds (age 10) and I had a really interesting exchange last night about kids around middle school age. I was trying to explain to dd (age 7, still in the world revolves around me stage) that middle school kids are trying to figure out where they fit in socially, and sometimes they get embarrassed about themselves. Then I added, "at least that's what I remember from when I was that age". Ds piped up "I think it's even more so now." Oy vey. We're entering another phase! I think the vanity phase was easier on me.


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#18 of 27 Old 11-18-2011, 09:04 AM
 
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 I think the vanity phase was easier on me.

yup yup!! me too.  seems like one doesnt have to wait till middle school with girls. they are kinda already thinking about this in 5th and 6th grade. tansitioning over as i see it. dd is at - what i feel a v. v. critical stage. my usual gregarious confident girl has turned uber shy and is so scared of being made fun of, of being seen as different. problem is she already sticks out like a sore thumb and IS different than her classmates but she is getting better about it. getting a handle of this now i feel is so important. perhaps the rest of her school life depends on how she chooses to be right now.

 

i spend a lot of time talking to her 5th and 6th grader friends. oh dear. some of them so want to be part of the clique. 
 

 


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#19 of 27 Old 11-18-2011, 01:36 PM - Thread Starter
 
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So is vanity false?  Or do they just need other people rather than their own family to think they're great?  I wish there was one simple way to get them grounded and to allow them to feel good about who they are rather than worry about what they look like.   

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#20 of 27 Old 11-18-2011, 03:59 PM
 
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I think if there isn't balance as far as what they hear about themselves and what gets attention, then I think that could cause more lasting issues, but if this is even on your radar I don't think it's something to worry about. Maybe if she's still doing it into and after middle school, you could start to get concerned.

 

This reminds me of something. In my daughter's class, each child had to write an introduction, and at the school's open house I read them and saw that every single girl put "pretty" or some synonym in their description, and most of the boys put "handsome" too.

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#21 of 27 Old 11-18-2011, 08:08 PM
 
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well remember YOU are using the term vanity. you are seeing it in a different perspective. its about a kid trying to figure out about knowing who they are and being that. that is the age of self discovery. ur oldest is kinda getting out of that phase or at the tail end of it, your little one is entering it. 

 

i recall how dd when younger woudl just not get it why saying 'i am smart' was a bad thing. she heard that all the time plus she for herself decided hey i AM smart. does that mean others are dumb. no. it means she discovered she was smart and she believed it. she did it and was done with it. no more of the i am smart thing. like lynnS6's dd she also has responded i know to many situations. now she knows to say TY. 


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#22 of 27 Old 11-18-2011, 10:53 PM
 
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So is vanity false?  Or do they just need other people rather than their own family to think they're great?  I wish there was one simple way to get them grounded and to allow them to feel good about who they are rather than worry about what they look like.   


Well, I see two issues. The first is that kids do need people outside their family to think they're great. The Search Institute has develop a set of "developmental assets" from research that appear to help kids thrive and succeed. (Here's the list for ages 5-8, if you're interested: http://www.search-institute.org/40-developmental-assets-children-grades-k%E2%80%933). Positive relationships are key. Obviously positive family relationships are important, but relationships with other adults outside the family, and the support of the community are also key. No child is going to have everything on the list, but many of the 'assets' revolve around supportive and safe relationships at home and in the community.

 

The second issue is one of social graces. Kids at your daughter's age are just beginning to get social graces, but they don't have a lot of them yet. My daughter had to write a thank you note in class this week (they're talking about Thanksgiving, obviously). Here's what she wrote to her brother: "Thank you for being nice to me most of the time (even though I hate you sometimes)." Luckily ds though it was pretty funny. She may be an extreme case (last year she wrote to her teacher for teacher appreciation: "I never thought I'd learn a thing from you, but I did!"), but I don't think she's developmentally that far off.

 

Kids do need to be taught social graces that are appropriate to the culture/community they live in. Those include how to accept a compliment. It includes when and how it's OK to talk about the things you're good at (For my daughter, when talking to friends, "I really the Harry Potter books" is OK. "I read all the Harry Potter books this summer and I'm only in 2nd grade" is not OK). It includes learning not to praise their own looks, as that's frowned on in our culture (but it's OK to accept a compliment). They also need to learn how to thank people, think about how other people feel when they say "I'm the best reader in the class" or "I'm really pretty". They need to learn how to introduce themselves and start a conversation. They need to learn how to politely decline something they don't care for. ("Ewww gross" is not OK. "No thank  you, I don't care for any" is fine.) They need to learn how to ask someone's name when they've forgotten it. etc. etc. etc.

 

Some of this learning is developmental in nature (a 4 year old really has a hard time seeing why it's offensive to say "I'm the best runner!"). Much of this can be taught through modeling, helping a child think about how others might feel or interpret what they're doing, and practicing. This summer, I actively practiced with dd how she could talk about the Harry Potter books she'd read so she didn't sound like she was bragging. A lot of this takes time and effort to teach and learn. I remember my mom teaching us how to introduce our friends to her so we'd have the skill of doing that. It takes time.

 

So, you're right that your daughters have things to learn. But I think you might be overly worried about the vanity, and missing the bigger picture that this is developmentally expected, and that it's something your daughters probably need to work on in more than one area, not just how they look. 

 


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#23 of 27 Old 11-19-2011, 05:35 AM - Thread Starter
 
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LynnS6,  I'm overly worried possibly because I just don't know how to handle it right.  I find myself saying things I shouldn't, DD1 has been told by me that she's the best at this or that and that she's beautiful.  I do the same things with DD2.  I'm trying to figure out if I'm the problem.  I don't want them to have a false sense of self, that's not fair to them.  I know I've already set DD1 up a few times.  I told her she was the smartest kid around, I didn't realize she would take that seriously.  Then a test comes along and someone out scored her and she comes home mad at me.  I also don't want to hurt their self esteem.

 

I didn't have the best communication with my mother, she wasn't into sharing anything and she always seemed to try to pull me back down when I was feeling good.  Jr. year I didn't get homecoming princess and she threw a fit about it. 

her words "well I was going to make you a dress but obviously your friends don't like you enough".

Then Senior year I was homecoming Queen, her words,  "About time! Did you have to buy someone off?" 

Oh and if I spent time doing my hair or ironing my clothes, "you want people to think you're pretty?  sorry mija, you don't look like your cousins!"   Still trying to figure out what she meant by that one since my cousins were all BIG! 

 

So I feel like I'm trying to make sure I don't make them feel that bad, yet not go so far that I screw them up.  I'm begging for clear answers here.  I find myself replaying conversations to make sure I didn't say something that could hurt their feelings or make them feel like I don't think they're great.  Also all the women in my family are that way.  They're great at ripping each other apart.  Lots of jealousy and cruel treatment.  I have to talk my sister down from running my mom over with her car atleast once a month because of something she said that wasn't kind. 

 

I went through the link you suggested, I honestly feel I just have a lot of work to do.  It's really hard to change all your learned behaviors and while I'm changing I hope I don't slip up. 

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#24 of 27 Old 11-19-2011, 06:44 AM
 
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you know something. i have read a lot of your posts and you have to let this fear go. it is this fear that is making a" mountain out of a molehill". how are you going to do that? i dont know. you have to find something that works for you.

 

please please please mama you are NOT your mom. hello. you make your friends cringe. your dd's have choice, they are allowed to swear AND make mudpools, AND you can have a conversation with your 8 year old that rivals adults. you sound like you are connected to your kids. you dont sound like a mother whom kids want to run down while driving a car.

 

since this you feel can make things worse i would totally let it go. totally. i mean now u know your oldest dd might take things literally. are you saying you dont have the right yourself as a mother to give her a compliment?!!! I am my dd's best cheerleader. i tell her with explanation why she is beautiful, she is smart, she is mean, she has a good heart, she is selfish....  
 

you sound like a mom who already has an established relationship with her dds. like my dd told me 'mom most of the time you are the best mom in the world, but sometimes you really suck." i could say the same about my mother. my parents loved us. there is no doubt about that. but they sucked too at times. sometimes BIG times. it was easy for me to forgive them AND be close to them because no matter what - i KNEW they loved us and i felt that. 

 

for me  the parts of parenthood that turn me into a monster - i completely let go. i have learnt from my dd to just leave the scene. and we both understand each other when that happens. its because we dotn want to say something since words are the worst capital punishment. 

 

i hope you realise you ARE a good parent AND you are trying. and that your dds loves who you are. once in a while you make a transgression, they are apt to forgive like i did.

 

a couple of other things. remember their idea of you as a parent really can have nothing to do with u. i recall i held this belief about my mom. it was only after i had my dd did i realise it was my head trip. for all these long years i blamed my mom for something when she didnt mean to be that way. i just misinterpreted her action. the same could be true about dd. like she told me 'mama you are the one thing that truly understands me and respects me. so when you hurt me its far worse than anyone else can hurt me." mind you though her hurt is not truly related to what i say or how i say it. its more about the state she is in at that time. what might hurt her at one time, might be nothing at another. 

 

but i have always spoken to her and tried to show her the world thru other people's shoes. dont take everything at face value. did they really mean that or were they just caught up in their thing and reacting. and so along those lines i have told her she has to give me the chance to blow up. i know. i know i shouldnt - but she has to. its human nature. i have to also respect that for her me blowing up is just like capital punishment. there are times she tells me ma just slap me to get it over with. we have talked about how the good and the bad resides in every person. just like you have to accept that i can go wrong, you also have to accept just cause Charles ng killed so many, it doesnt mean he doesnt have softness of heart. 

 

so its complicated. a clear answer? i wish it was easy to find. if anything perhaps u r trying too hard.

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Imakcerka View Post

I honestly feel I just have a lot of work to do.  It's really hard to change all your learned behaviors and while I'm changing I hope I don't slip up. 

i hope you know mama you are not alone here. i am in the same boat as you and i suspect many others are too. when you are a connected mother its ok to slip up sometimes. 
 

 


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#25 of 27 Old 11-19-2011, 07:56 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you Meemee.

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#26 of 27 Old 11-19-2011, 12:48 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Imakcerka View Post

LynnS6,  I'm overly worried possibly because I just don't know how to handle it right.  I find myself saying things I shouldn't, DD1 has been told by me that she's the best at this or that and that she's beautiful.  I do the same things with DD2.  I'm trying to figure out if I'm the problem.  I don't want them to have a false sense of self, that's not fair to them.  I know I've already set DD1 up a few times.  I told her she was the smartest kid around, I didn't realize she would take that seriously.  Then a test comes along and someone out scored her and she comes home mad at me.  I also don't want to hurt their self esteem.

 

<snip>

 

I went through the link you suggested, I honestly feel I just have a lot of work to do.  It's really hard to change all your learned behaviors and while I'm changing I hope I don't slip up


hug2.gif One of my mother's phrases is: "Do your best, even the angels can do no more." It sounds like you're setting yourself an impossibly high standards. You can't parent without screwing up.

 

As meemee said, you're not your mother. You're raising your children the best you can. If your children know that they're loved and valued, and you're willing to apologize when you've screwed up, it'll be OK. Children are resilient, as long as they have a firm base. YOU didn't have a firm base because your mother kept on pulling the ground out from under you. You're not doing that to your daughters. The very fact that you're worried about this shows that you're  different from your mom.

 

My parents were not perfect by any means. We got yelled at. My parents spanked my older sibs. Sometimes they didn't pay enough attention to us because they were too busy and too stressed. I remember I really wanted to sign up for softball one summer. My mom got to the signup site and we turned around and left because she didn't want to wait in line that long! They didn't always come to our school sports events. They made mistakes. But you know what? They didn't ruin us either.  Why? Because we knew we were loved and respected. They treated us with decency. They could have apologized more often, but we all (and there are 5 of us) have a decent relationship with them. (OK, we do have to tell our mom every once in awhile that she's not being reasonable. I wish they'd move into an assisted living facility because at 83 and 87, they're not getting any younger, and I worry about my dad having to do all the housework. My mom 'can't' because she's blind. And she won't learn to help herself. She LIKES being served. It drives me bananas. But I still love her.)

 

You can't prevent yourself from making mistakes. You can't keep your children from all heartache, even if you were perfect. So, with the "smartest kid around" you learned that kids under 10 take things literally. You learned that you probably should phrase it like "I think you're really smart." or "You have a lot of talent for reading."  Your daughter learned that while mom thinks I'm the smartest kid around, her opinion may not match reality. She learned that the sun still comes up tomorrow when you don't get the highest grade. She learned that her mom thinks highly of her. If I had to choose between my mom thinking I'm smarter than I am and my mom not praising me, I'd choose the former. What about you?

 

If you haven't already read "How to Talk So Your Children Will Listen" by Faber & Mazlish, now would be a good time. I really like Dan Siegel's work on Mindfulness as well: Parenting from the Inside Out It discusses the impact that our own life stories affects our parenting.  I'm really getting a lot out of his book "Whole Brain Child" as well.

 

Maybe you just need to make some big cards that say "I'm doing the best I can" and "I am not my mother" and paste them on your mirror to see!


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#27 of 27 Old 11-19-2011, 07:03 PM
 
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Here's my take on this topic, and it stems from some personal growth in the the last year, so, take it for what it's worth.

 

It's okay to be you.  And being you INCLUDES being pretty, smart, athletic, witty, or any other positive attribute, be it regularly applied to girls and not boys...or not.  It isn't good to downplay your strengths.  It's not good to flaunt them, or make others feel upstaged, but it's good to be you.  And to be comfortable in your own awesomeness.

 

Because, you have a lot to offer the world.  And if you are smart, you should know that about yourself, and relate to the world that way.  It took me a long, long, long time, and a lot of frustrated relationships and failed conversations, to realize that I, apparently, am a bit smarter than the average bear.  And that's okay.  There's nothing wrong with me, and I don't have to hold back.  I can offer a lot to the world the way I was made.  I don't have to play dumb, I don't have to throw the game...but I do probably have a responsibility to be a leader, and to help others along.

 

So what if your dd is good-looking.  Wonderful.  People who are good looking often have a leg up in life.  Others tend to respond to them better.  The things I would teach are NOT "beauty is only skin deep" and "quit looking at yourself in the mirror", but "because of your blessing, you have the responsibility of being kind to girls who aren't so great looking.  You have the responsibility to keep the snobs off their case.  You've been blessed, and you need to know it." 

 

And, here's another thought.  We have ALL been given things that are special and unique to us.  But most of us, women especially, go around faking.  We hide the beauty inside.  Be it the beauty outside, be it our brains, or our ideas, or whatever.  We don't have the confidence to be what we are.  We don't know how to handle what we have. 

 

Knowing that 1.) ALL of who we are is a gift. 2.) Sometimes gifts can be taken away. and 3.) Embrace what you have and use it to its fullest changes a lot. 

 

If your dd is drop dead gorgeous, how is she going to USE it?  Is she going to bless the world with modest beauty?  Is she going to use it to get her self-esteem?  Is she going to use it to use boys?  OR is she going to be uncertain that she IS pretty, or WHAT she should do about it?

 

I'd rather my dd walk around with her head high and KNOW that she's gorgeous, and be kinder to those who aren't, to modestly turn her head when the boys gape, and to leave onlookers with a feeling of "now...that's beauty"...like an amazing sunset. 

 

And you know what?  The joy she reaps by her kindness and her security in who she is at the moment and her confidence in using the gifts she has will create that deep beauty and character we are all so concerned about. 

 

It translates to you.  Who ARE you.  Really.  Deep down.  What have you ALWAYS loved, but maybe forgotten?  What is really important to you.  Does your nose still turn up in that cute way it did when you were 5?  Are your eyes still your best asset?  Do your ears still stick out more than you like?  Are you a bit flighty or short tempered?  Sometimes, most times I think, it is more important to just recognize what we ARE, and that it is US.  And that...well, it's okay.  After you know who you are, you can work with it.  I know that I don't wake up well.  I don't have to keep up this guilt I have that I'm not a June Cleaver breakfast maker with perfect hair at 5am.  I'm not that.  But, I can make some awesome cookies...and I can pull a great all nighter.  What I have to offer the world is different than June Cleaver...but it's every bit as good.  And I don't intend to change.

 

What have you learned from your experiences as a child?  Who are you now?  Stop trying to change, and just BE yourself fully.  You already are full of who you are...don't be afraid to embrace it.  Don't be afraid to know that you ARE awesome.  You ARE a good Mama.  And what you have to offer the world...and your daughters...is every bit as good.

 

*hugs*

 


"If you keep doing the same things you've always done, you'll keep getting the same results you've always gotten."

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