You’re beautiful, my sister is beautiful, my brother is handsome, and I’m ugly…No, parent wants to hear their child utter such words. But this beautiful morning my 7-year-old son did. I was taken aback by his statement. Why would he say such a thing? Who had told him he was ugly?
As a mom, my brain went on high alert. How do I fix this how do I convince him that he is not ugly?! Better yet what child do I need to yell at for saying such a thing to my darling boy?!
So I asked him,” Why do you think you’re ugly?”. “Well mom my teeth are crooked and my face looks weird”, he said. “Your face isn’t weird. You’ve got two eyes, a nose, a mouth, and two ears. And everybody’s teeth are crooked at this age. ” I replied.
As an adult, it’s easy to tell a child not to worry about what other people think. When we as adults are constantly worried about what others think about us. We live in a world that constantly puts pressure on adults and children to be like someone else.
Yes, we are becoming more accepting of different body types, and skin tones, but at the same time promoting an ideal of physical perfection. When is the last time you’ve seen a model with acne or movie star with crooked teeth? (That wasn’t part of their character.
For kids, the pressure is no different. Perfect skin. Perfect hair. Everyone needs to have a boyfriend/girlfriend or some unrequited love. Where are the shows about the kids who are just happy being kids? Not worried about boyfriends and girlfriends or what they look like.
Before my son had talked about being ugly. He told me he didn’t want to be alone. That he needed friends and a girlfriend. And I’m thinking to myself,” Where is he getting these ideas?”I for one am not a fan of kids having boyfriends/girlfriends in elementary school.
Crushes yea sure. But being in a committed relationship at 7 or 8. No, thank you. Let’s just be kids and have innocent fun. But at this age, he is already wrestling with the idea of loneliness and what the ideal boy looks like. And as far as he’s concerned it doesn’t look like him.
I don’t even remember being concerned with those things at that age. I don’t even think I started to really like boys until I was 10/11.
But back to our conversation. My son decided to give his life to Christ when he was about 5. And as Christians, our self-worth and our self-esteem should be based on Christ. I should have started with what I told him in the end. It is often said that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. And as Christian’s our beholder is God.
…I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.
I reminded him of Psalms 139:14,”… I am fearfully and wonderfully made…”. That God has made each and every one of us unique. We are like a piece of abstract art made by the creator. Some people will think it’s beautiful and some just won’t get it. But to God we are beautiful we are his masterpiece. The work of his hands.
Low self-esteem was something I struggled with as a child. I could have shared my own personal story with him. My father always told me that I was beautiful, but there was a part of me that wanted that validation from the outside world.
It’s actually something that as an adult Christian I still struggle with. My husband constantly tells me I’m beautiful, but there are times that I still struggle with how I feel about myself.
As an adult, I have to remind myself that God created me as a unique individual and I don’t have to strive to be like anybody else. As a parent, it’s hard to see your child struggling with these issues, but the best thing we can do is be there for our children.
If I could rewind this scenario I know I would have addressed it differently I would have:
- Stayed Calm- The first thing I did was go into high alert mode and started to figure out how I could convince him in the 10-minute drive that we had to school that he was not ugly.
- Listened & Asked Questions- I did listen and I did ask questions. But I asked them to try to refute his reasoning as to why he felt that way. When instead I should have asked questions just to listen and absorb what he was saying.
- Asked God for wisdom- If you’re not a Christian, then maybe this step isn’t for you, but I should have prayed and asked God for wisdom on what to say to my son. Aside from you’re not ugly!
- Shared my own personal story.- Sometimes our kids think we have it all together. That we don’t struggle with anything. We’re adults we can do whatever we want. At least that’s how kids think.
- Prayed with him- I should have prayed with him before he got out of the car. School can be a harsh place for children. As a Christian parent, I feel that it’s important to always cover your children in prayer. Especially, when they are going through something.
I would love to hear what other parents have to say about this issue. I have 3 more kids that I’m sure I’ll have to go through this with. So any advice is welcome.
If you can think of more tips or things that I could have done differently. Please share them in the comments below.
Until Next Time,
The Crafty Afro