Sunday, July 3, 2011

Confidence is killer

Many girls suffer from low confidence. Some teen moms even say that the combination of low confidence and low self esteem are some of the reasons that they became teen mothers.
I have had my own problems with my appearance and realized early on that low confidence and low self esteem can easily be passed on to my child. Therefore I began and still am taking necessary steps to work on myself so that the chances of my daughter learning and adopting poor self esteem issues and low confidence from me are low.

I had the pleasure of meeting a beautiful young girl and her mother who is an attractive women as well. However, the mother suffered from low self esteem and a lack of true confidence and the daughter was picking up on it and projected the mother's "issues" on herself at the young age of 7!

The mother dislike to show her legs because she felt that her thighs were too big and looked strange when "exposed". I for one can say that there was nothing big about this women's thighs or anything big about her at all. The little girl expressed to me one day, while I was wearing shorts, that her mother told her, the daughter, she didn't like her own thighs and that's why she never wore shorts. In turn the little girl didn't like to wear shorts or anything that exposed her legs either.
It deeply saddened me that this was taking place and takes place all over the world.
Here was a mother and a daughter both beautiful girls that lacked a positive self imagine and the fact that the child was 7 and was already developing a poor self image opened my eyes greatly. As mother's it is our job and duty to build our children up and even though all of us do this we often forget that most behaviors are learned and that our children, from birth, are always watching and learning from us. 
The mother wasn't trying to put her poor self image on her daughter she was just expressing both vocally and non vocally, through her actions, her feelings. I began to reflect on what type of self issues I possibly put out that my daughter can pick up on. At this time my daughter was 2 going on 3 and I was starting to pile on the pounds. I went from being 115 pounds to 160 pounds.

I was devastated and started eating better and exercising regularly.
It boggled my mind that the little girl's mother, by the looks of it, was many pounds lighter then me and still didn't have the confidence to show her legs but here I was wearing shorts confidently.

Now my daughter is 5 years old and I am still working on myself.
I've taught myself to replace negative comments that I may have about my appearance and to watch what I say around my daughter even more.
If you have a child you are the center of their world. This is both a difficult job to have and an easy one to forget you have. Children and people alike learn by observing the world around them and being that you are the center of their world everything you put out they pick up on and will mimic.

For example my daughter has this new thing where instead of saying: I don't know. She'll go Mmm umm. I can't stand it. However, I realized the other day that she asked me a question and instead of saying I don't know I said mmm Umm just like her. At the moment I knew who was to blame, myself.

Now if every morning I get up and say I'm fat, or I hate my smile or vocalize any other insecurities she will pick up these negative comments and start to apply them to herself and the world around her.
 Fixing a low self esteem is not an easy over night task but if you take small steps to making yourself more confident and a better person then you are also helping you child in the long run.
Today's world is full of images of what a "type A" person should be so please don't feed into it especially while your child is watching or listening, which is always.

Working on your self confidence is just another way to help your child(ren).

Things I did to help replace my self directed negative comments.
  • Instead of saying I'm fat or I look fat I say I need to exercise.
    • This way I'm promoting exercise, which people of all ages need, and doing something to better myself
  • I hate my smile
    • I think I have a nice smile but my teeth are one of my biggest insecurities. I no longer say I hate my smile and smile as often as possible because I have some many things to smile about and because my daughter is always watching
Ways to help build and maintain your child's confidence (at any age)
  • Tell and show them they are beautiful
  • Express to them how nice they look each an everyday and especially when they are going through a "transitional" period or wearing something they don't think they can "pull off"
Remember confidence isn't just about physical appearance but also about the inside.
  • If your child is trying something new give them positive feedback
    • this way they will be more excited when starting a new venture
  • Remind and show them how intelligent they are
    • This one I have to do all the time with my daughter. Whenever we are learning a new lesson she gets anxiety, says she can't do it and shuts down.
    • Instead of letting her get all in a funk I tell her to relax, that she does know it (even if she doesn't) because she is an intelligent little girl. Once she understands the lesson she feel a lot better about herself and feels more confident when faced with it again.
Thank you for reading and remember that you are the one that teaches your child confidence, so get confident own it and that way your child will pick up on your confidence and not your insecurities.
Now I want some cookies with milk :)