You are not beautiful!
Has anyone ever told you that you are not beautiful?
I was told these words on my face by my own kid, my then 4-year-old boy.
This incident happened last year and it made me wonder how vulnerable our kids are to what they see and hear and how they process that information. Also, how important our role as parents is in molding their thinking to help them grow into kind and accepting human beings.
So, today I want to share this episode with you all I wrote that time but didn’t share it because I wanted to see if my approach worked or not.
The day my son told me, Mumma, you are not beautiful, I knew it was time to talk about Beauty, self-love, and love for others.
We had just entered Lockdown 2.0 that week. I remember it was a Saturday, my free day and I was preparing for a long relaxing bath. Just before entering the bathroom, I peeped at myself into the mirror, I looked different.
Yes, I had overgrown eyebrows and a mustache, my face looked tanned and dull but I didn’t mind it. The salons were closed and I was happy that I could enjoy pain-free days. I made some funny faces in the mirror & laughed at myself. Just when I turned around I saw my son Nemit standing there, with a confused look ready to pop a question at me.
And, he asked me, ‘Mumma, why do you have hair on your face like papa? You also have hair on your hands and legs.’ Just before I could say something, he blurted out, ‘Mumma, now you are not beautiful.’
I was taken aback by his comment. Clearly, I wasn’t expecting that.
It felt weird & I couldn’t say a word to him so I just gave him a silly smile & went into the bathroom. The only thought I had lingering on my mind that day was when & how did my 4-year-old son learn to make such judgments. I never taught him any specific definition of beauty.
Or, did I? Maybe unknowingly and unintentionally. I don’t know.
It made me ponder, was there anything that we were doing that was sending a wrong message to our kid?
I always knew a day will come when I will talk to my son about self-love because that is the most important thing for a child’s confidence. But, how did I forget that there’s another important thing we need to teach our kids. That is, loving others, accepting them without judging their choices, and looking beyond their outer appearance.
So many thoughts were clouding my mind that day. And on top of that, I started questioning my parenting (if you are a parent, you know what I mean). I had to come out of it. Now, the challenge was how to talk about it with a 4-year-old.
I had an important conversation on ‘Being Beautiful’ with my son that day.
That evening I sat with him and touched the topic again. And, I started with the basics. The first thing I told him was that every girl and boy gets facial and body hair when they reach a certain age. And, it is not a bad thing. I had to explain it a bit to make him understand the point.
Everyone is beautiful irrespective of their skin colour, body size & even body hair. We all get body hair and it’s a choice if someone wants to keep it that way or remove it. Similarly, with makeup or no makeup, we can’t judge anyone based on their choices. Some people feel good after putting on makeup, some people don’t. If they are happy the way they are, they are beautiful.
He seemed confused at first so I encouraged him to ask questions. I never thought he could ask so many questions on this topic. I answered them all, giving him examples from real life so that he could understand better. And, then moved on to explain other qualities that we should look at in other people beyond their looks.
That day, I realized how important it is to have such conversations with our kids. They are vulnerable because their minds are still developing, they are taking in a lot of unfiltered information from ‘n’ number of sources. We really can’t filter or block everything they see or hear but we can help them in processing that information in the right manner just by having such heart-to-heart conversations.
It’s been more than a year now since that incident but I can tell that our talk that day made a lasting impact on his mind and changed the way he looks at people now. I see him giving compliments to his teachers and he never shies away on appreciating the good qualities of his friends. For a parent, these are proud moments to cherish.
What are your thoughts on this? Have you ever had such a conversation with your child? I would love to hear your thoughts. Please share them in the comments below. If you don’t feel like leaving a public comment here, please feel free to reach out to me on my social media.
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My theme for #MyFriendAlexa is All under one roof called Parenting. And, this is my first post under the category parenting #RaisingABoy.
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