'Society play's a big role in lowering our children's self esteem!'
As I continue my research into positive body image and self-esteem in children, I'm saddened by the lack of information in regards to boys!
I have two boys one 11 and one 17 and I have never been naive to the fact that, they can have low self-esteem issues too.
The more research I do, the more I realise that society plays a big role in lowering the self-esteem in our children!
In particular peers and peer pressure!
The other day my youngest boy came home from school; down, stressed and irritable! He didn't really want to talk and needed a little space to think!
So I respected him and gave him some time to process his day!
After a little while I found him sitting on my bed. 'Are you ready to talk, mate?' I asked. He sat up and nodded, then stretched his arm out!
'Mum, why am I so skinny?' 'Look' he said, showing me his arms! 'why don't I have muscles.'
I proceeded to have a gentle conversation about body types and explained to him that everyone is different.
Our conversation continued, with him finding flaws in his body. I wondered where this was coming from and what had suddenly sparked these thoughts.
He went a little bit quiet and then he said,
'My friends at school say I'm too skinny, I have a round face and have a long neck.'
The protective, crazy mumma came out...'Friends?' I said. 'Friends don't make you feel bad about yourself. How did you feel when they said that?'
'Sad' he said.
'Sometimes friends will make you sad, but you need to remember, they aren't your friends if they continue to make you feel bad about yourself and make fun of what you look like. That feeling you get in your tummy when someone say's something horrible to you, won't go away if you keep ignoring their taunts. You need to find the courage within you, to tell them how you feel, when they say things that hurt your feelings. If they don't change or stop, then maybe they're really not your friends at all.'
He sat and pondered this for a while, and then said, 'I can't say that to them, because they won't like me or play with me.'
We cuddled for a moment and I took a little time to think of my response...
'Well I see, I think you have two options; you can continue to feel yucky about something they are doing to you, ignore it and try to move past it or you can try your hardest to tell them to stop.
Either way, i'm proud of you, because you have been able to come and tell me and we can work it out together.'
It's so hard as a mum to have to hear that your child is being teased or bullied. It's even harder to try and build on their confidence, to beable to stick up for themselves in tricky situations.
Boys, just as much as girls have to deal with being put down by their peers, but in society a boy can be seen as a 'wus' or a 'dobber.'
It breaks my heart that our boys don't have enough confidence to beable to do something about, in fear of them being rejected from their peers.
That why it's so important to have an open relationship with your child, so that they know when things are hard, they can always come to their parents for help and advice.
Life is only going to get harder for our kids and we need to realise that comments like these can really bring them down.
We need to build on their confidence and resilience, so they feel empowered to be able to handle situations like this and not 'believe' in what the 'bullies' say.
We, as parents need to empower our children to accept and believe in themselves as amazing humans beings, that can achieve anything.
Let's teach our kids to build each other up, not bring each other down!
It all begins with us!
We, are their role models and we need to teach them that it's just not ok, to make fun of other children. That, it's ok to be a kind, caring and respectful person! One who will help out a friend in need and one that when a situation just becomes to much, that it's ok to ask for help!