Eight of our ten kids have hit adolescence so far. Over the years of parenting, I have faced this inevitable question.
Some ask it straight up…..Mom, do you think I am ugly?
Others have pieced through sections of their body to ask the same thing. ….Mom, do you think my nose/hair/ forehead/ foot, etc. is ugly?
Are you like me looking for some strategies to counter their pain? Here are my best ones even as my budding teen hit me with that question just this week.
1. Recognize that your credibility, as a mom or dad, is not very high in your child’s mind as you tell them….Of course, you are not ugly! Everyone knows that parents and especially mothers always think their own babies are beautiful.
2. Understand your vital role as a parent to help them wrestle with this human question. Do not leave this job to the media or friends.
3. Explain to them the difference in our feelings and the objective truth. Anorexics feel fat but the objective truth says they are way too thin.
4. Tell them you remember struggling with this same issue. Helping them know they are normal to face this question can ease anxiety.
5. Accept that the resolution of this body image question takes time. We all want to quickly snap our children out of pain instantly, but life rarely works that way.
6. Teach your kids (before adolescence) that the issue of “beauty”—though a God designed concept—has in our culture been perverted. Do not, in an attempt to shield kids from perversion, make it seem God is against beauty.
8. Recognize that some of our child’s/teen’s struggle might be justified. All of us have human flaws that we must learn to accept as “us.”
9. Discover whether some of their body loathing is actually a signal to make a change. “Hating” ourselves is a lousy motivator for taking care of our own health and adjusting our behaviors that affect physical looks.
10. Pray earnestly for your child’s/teen’s spiritual development. Living a life of peace with Jesus will cause the beauty of the Lord to overtake their outer man struggles.
How have you helped your children through this rite of passage? Have you found any scripture passages that were especially dear to you on the subject of beauty and body image?
Image courtesy of Bruno Sersocima
Linked to Sharing His Beauty, Welcome Home, The Better Mom, Visionary Womanhood, Modest Mondays, Titus 2sDays, Teach Me Tuesdays, Loving our Children Tuesday, Top Ten Tuesdays, Works for Me Wednesday, Women Living Well.