Ugly Duckling Syndrome

My daughter just turned 12. Anyone who has seen her pictures knows that she is a very pretty girl. I know I am biased but I have heard that from so many people. Lately, she has been in tears almost every morning before school because she thinks she is ugly...too fat, bad hair, ugly face, braces, glasses, mean personality (these are her words).

I just had a session yesterday with a client who is having trouble communicating with her teenager and I think I will take my own advice: let her vent and make sure that she knows that I am here for her, then step back until she asks me for advice or an opinion. I used to force my point of view on her - that she is beautiful - but of course that didn't make her feel any better because, "You have to say that! You're my mom!"

She's comparing herself to her friends constantly. One of them is Chinese and very slender with that gorgeous Asian hair; one is Indian and a vegetarian, so she is very slender as well; her BFF is an early bloomer and has many of the attributes that my kiddo is longing for. She told me this morning that she wanted me to keep her home from school until she has her growth spurt, etc. - then she will go back. Yeah, right.

So I called my mom and asked her to drop some pictures of me as an awkward pre-teen in the mail. I was definitely fat by every definition of the word. I had braces and a bad perm that looked like an afro. I distinctly remember the popular girls telling me, "You have such a pretty face." UGH!!

I'm not sure if seeing those pics will have the desired effect, but I am really hoping so. The kiddo has always told me how pretty I am. I want to show her that I wasn't always so confident in my looks (and for good reason), but as time went by, I changed and grew into my own...and she will too.


Tracey said...

I have an almost 12 year old (May 24) and she is the same way. She can't get her braces yet, wears glasses, has poker straight hair, emotions going up and down and wants to wear makeup. It's a rough road we have my friend. Question is...how do we walk it without losing our minds and keep our kids self esteem intact?

StaceyG said...

Tracey, I don't think it is really our job to keep the kids' self-esteem in tact. All we can do if offer support, guidance and pray to all that is Holy that they make good decisions!!