So, my sister told me the other day that my niece, who is 8, thinks she is fat. There are so many things wrong with this, but let me explain.
My niece, H, is a tomboy of sorts as is, so it comes as no surprise that she refuses particularly girly things. This summer in particular, her modesty crescendoed when she turned down all shorts except for boys basketball shorts that come below her knee. She will only wear tshirts, too. No tank tops. She has also vetoed swimsuits of any kind.
My sister thought H was just being finicky, so she didn’t think too much of it until they came upon on a an advertisement for some kind of corrective undergarment. H’s response was that if they made something like that for thighs, then she would like that because her thighs are fat.
People, it doesn’t even matter what body type sweet H has. What matters to me is that SHE IS EIGHT. How can she judge her body as anything less than beautiful? And, if she is being teased, who the heck is impressing on that child that bodies are anything to pick on. EVER.
I was a chunky child and I remember being not much older than H and being picked on because of my size, my ears, my hair. I remember being deliberately left out of “clubs”, ridiculed on the playground, and it hurt. My grades suffered. I hated school for a while.
Thankfully, I had a teacher looking out for me and she approached the mean girls in question to let them know how damaging their behavior was. They had no idea and I was actually best friends with the ring leader before it was all said and done.
It is so important to talk to kids about how their behaviors impact others. I don’t know how I would have been affected had that teacher not stepped in on my behalf.
I don’t know that H is specifically being teased, but I do know that something or someone has made an impression on her that has lead her to the conclusion that she needs Spanx. An 8year old wants Spanx. Isnt there something deeply wrong with that? I mean, Spanx are awesome but that’s not the point, is it?