You know the distractions and temptations that ping before your eyes every time you pick up your phone, but have you ever considered how many images are deeply affecting your child’s self-esteem on a daily basis?
We can set restrictions by the ratings on their TV time, but It’s no longer just commercials that are telling our children what they need and how they should look. Cell phones are pinging them in the middle of their homework, jobs and games. Temptation is calling out to even young children, whether they are at home, on the bus or in the middle of a church service!
If we want our kids to be confident, we must make a conscious effort to engage in conversations about Image Issues.
When your daughter says she hates her nose, or your son thinks he’s too short, how do you respond? Most of us will quickly reply with a correction. “No, honey, you are perfect!”
We are not wrong. Sure, we see their imperfections, but the truth is, there is no flaw that could ever taint the opinion of a mamma toward her child. The child, however, can see right through us. They know we “have to say that.”
Correcting their self-consciousness doesn’t fix it.
As moms, we are sympathetic, we feel the pain of our child’s heart and we tend to feel responsible to fix all their hurts. We want to speak into our children’s hearts and encourage them. Unfortunately, when they are down on themselves, our words of correction are often only re-enforcements to the problem.
When our kids open up to us and share their self-insulting words, we would be wise to remember three things:
- There is always a bigger picture. Maybe your daughter saw something that makes her feel uncomfortable with herself. Maybe a text is making her feel inadequate, discouraged or disappointed. Is there a change going on in her life that maybe she’s worried about and just can’t figure out how to express it? Help her find her feelings and work through them.
- Truth may hurt, but it doesn’t harm. Maybe your son really is short, or your daughter does have an eccentric nose, don’t deny it, help them define who they are. It’s easy to say popular cliches like, “I love you just the way you are.” but your children deserve more effort than that. Help them step back to see the bigger picture. Who says they must be big and strong to be manly or have a sculpted nose to be beautiful? Even a major deformity can be captivating, and that is what is lovely. (For more on Making Peace with Unusual Beauty, click here.)
- It is not enough to encourage once. Maybe it’s true that kids “bounce back” but they are certainly not immune to the same kinds of emotional ups and downs that you and I feel when we face a Confidence Conflict. With each new season, sport, school, relationship or text message, they are exploring their identity, and unfortunately, some seasons make them (or us!) painfully aware of their areas of lack. One “good talk” about body image does not mean you can check off your list of parental expectations. Image Issues are like warfare- victory only comes after many battles.
You can’t give your children a healthy self-image, but you can teach them who they are and equip them to fight the Confidence Conflicts as they come.
Every child with a cell phone is being pinged with glamorous temptations many times a day. Their closest friends are in the same season of life and seldom have more wisdom. They need us to help them through this. Please join me in making a commitment to build up the next generation more than their digital devices are tearing them down.
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I call my image consultations “Supreme MakeOver” (or SMO) because it changes so much more than a person’s appearance; it teaches them who they are and sets them free from all that comparison. If you would like to have or host a SMO, or if you want to help me launch my next book, Know Who You Are-for Kids!, then please contact me. I can be found on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Linked In, Goodreads and my website is http://catrinawelch.com