A friend on Facebook posted that her daughter got called fat while at the pool. I read that and thought about it quite a lot… I remember rude comments from my own childhood, I think we all do. This post really got me to thinken’
Of course, this child should not have called her fat. In fact, the child should not even care about the other child’s body shape or size. But more importantly the child that was called fat should not even care. Rather then responding with hurt feelings and shameful backlash the response should truly be, “What would that matter?” or “Why would my body be of your concern?” (this is not easy, hear me out)
We can only control ourselves, not the people around us. But what does this look like? I am not saying this is fair. “Why am I the one who has to change anything, I didn’t do anything wrong?”, and I am not saying it is easy. “Just ignore them, and go on with life.” but whoever bought into the lie that life should be fare and easy has only fooled themselves.
The thing is, if we learn, and in turn teach our children, to think past these things with a different perspective, then we win, and they win. Haters gonna hate (you just can’t use proper enunciation when saying that). What I am arguing for is changing our perspective, and truly seeing the people around us for what they are and where they are at.
See, when a person says something you to you about you, it has very little to do with you! say what? Come again!
let me explain
Okay, from the positive… if a person gives you a complement, “Oh, I love that shirt on you, it matches your eyes.” they mean it, I’m sure. But it says more about them. It says that they are confident, they are perceptive, they notice other people, they have great tastes, they are comfortable speaking to others, they think about others, they care about how others feel and much more. What it says about you is you have a great shirt that goes great with your eyes. see what I mean?
With a negative comment… “hey, you’re ugly and your mother dresses you funny”. They see the negative, they do not value others… This is indicative of what this person feels about themselves. They are turning attention to someone else to avoid it on themselves, they want to highlight a possible weakness to hide what they find intimidating in you, they want to place themselves above you, win worth so that they themselves do not feel shame…. the list goes on.
Yes, the little boy called her fat, and if he was my kid he would be getting more then an earful when he got home. And if she was my daughter, I would be as mad as a hornet and think awful things about how that kid is being raised and how he will turn out. But when it comes down to it, we cannot control the other people, we can only control ourselves. So once my flaring temper came back into speaking range, I think it would be important to help my daughter flush out those feelings… ask why a few times…. why do you think it bothers you that he called you fat? Because it hurt my feelings? Why do you think it hurt your feeling? Because what he said was not nice. Why do you think he said it? Because he is mean. Why do you think he is mean? This looks like a conversation, not an interrogation, and it happens face to face while sharing French fries on a mom/daughter date or while you are making dinner and she is helping you. … teach her think more about others then she does herself. Teach her how ridiculous the comment is, how can she be fat, fat is something she has (we all have, and for good reason), it is not who we are it is something on our bodies. Help her to become detached from the idea of body perfection and focus on body function. … teach her that outside of her health her body size is not an issue… teach her that her worth does not come from her looks or her abilities. Teach her where it comes from – where does it come from? Just to be clear, the other child needs this same talking to and questions asked.
It is hard to see it in the situation, but this negative comment has offered some incredible learning and bonding opportunities.
- an opportunity to take a look at what we value in ourselves
- an opportunity to get insight into a sad child who is crying for help (the name caller)
- an opportunity to have a good chat with your little girl (I know that they want that more then anything, quality time with their parent)
- an opportunity to affirm your family’s core beliefs
- an opportunity to help grow your child’s life-lesson-tool-kit
- an opportunity to bond
so as much as I would still be pissed and protective, this is a opportunity for so many things. And just think, that list of opportunities could all be lost if the parent takes the victim roll and dwells only on the hurt.
DISCLAIMER: I am not sure how the parents in this situation handled conversation afterward. But I have been the parent of a child who was being, dare I say, bullied, by an older girl at school and this (asking why and thinking about the other person) was how we handled it. I still am not happy with the girl who bullied my daughter, (and have wanted to approach her and yell at her about how wonderful and caring my daughter is… but this girl has most likely not been told how wonderful and caring she is…. so…. I restrained (because I can only control myself!))
So I leave you with some food for thought.
… where does your worth come from?
…can your new perspective shed more compassionate light on a situation?
Keep well friends, remember we are learning this together