Friday, April 22, 2011

My 8 year old is PERFECT

When I look at my daughter, I wonder what goes on in her mind. I'm sure most parents wonder the same thing, but parents of girls in particular have extra bits to watch out for. We have to watch out for self-hating talk and behaviors, attitudes that can demean or undermine themselves or other girls, weight issues or perceptions, and more. I ran into this last night, and Matt and I are attacking this issue ASAP so we ensure kiddo continues to have the healthy self-image she's had up until recently.

I'm fairly certain her self-confidence is still strong (she's the most stubborn person I know next to Matt), but I worry. She comes home and tells me that people at school (specifically a certain friend) judges her lunch. She's told that certain things we give her aren't healthy, bad for her, that if she keeps eating them she'll get fat (?!?!?!?!?!?), and more. As a result, we've had to start policing her lunchbox when she comes home, because she'll just not eat food, or throw it away instead of eat things this friend tells her are bad in some form.

A rare picture of kiddo for you:

This precious, active, stubborn, amazing worried about getting FAT. SHE'S EIGHT.
I've tried to teach her balance, that exercise is good, certain foods are essential to be strong and healthy - never ONCE do we say anything about worrying about being fat, that being fat is bad, nothing on these levels at all. Peers are so influential, and it scares me how much sway peers can seemingly have over her. Thankfully, she's also transparently honest with us, and will tell us that someone told her something, so she did this.

Kiddo - "I didn't eat my pretzels because they tasted like deviled eggs."
Me - "OK, but I just tried them, and they just tasted normal to me. I wonder why they tasted off to you..."
Kiddo - " Oh, well (friend) told me that if they taste like deviled eggs that means they're old, so I didn't eat them."

Those pretzels are a) brand new and b) untainted by random deviled egg drive-bys. We talked about this, and explained that if this friend continues to cause kiddo to choose not to eat, we will talk to the school and ensure that they are not to sit together at lunch anymore. I will NOT stand for my daughter to develop eating disorders, much less due to distorted self-image from her peers.

*puts on angry Mama Bear face*

It's rare that I feel the urge to go after anyone, much less give them a piece of my mind. This particular friend of kiddo's just riles me, and while she's an inherently good kid, the fact that she does things like this, along with a very passive-aggressive love/hate friendship with my daughter, makes me have less than friendly feelings for her.

Now that kiddo is entering the pre-puberty time of life, it is VITALLY important that we build her inner strength even stronger, her walls of self-protection higher, and her sense of right and wrong even more clear. Theoretically, it's highly tempting to run off somewhere with her for the next 5 years and insulate her in a bubble of love, acceptance and learning to stand up for yourself without harming others. Realistically, I know that's a terrible idea and wouldn't work in Real Life.

You know, I never really understood what people meant when they said:
being a parent will break your heart
Now, I know, and it is such a deep pain I can't even describe it. This song by Pink encompasses everything I want for kiddo, everything I want for all of us, men and women alike.

WARNING: This video will make you cry. This video made my DAD cry. There's some graphic scenes - probably not appropriate for anyone under 13ish.

**TRIGGER WARNING** There is a self-injury scene.

I would love to hear any tips or suggestions from moms who have gone through this with their daughters, or if you personally have been in my daughter's place and wished someone had done or said X for you - please, please share.

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