Growing up I was not very confident about my body, my self esteem was quite low. That’s not to say I wasn’t confident, as I was in terms of speaking to peers and grown ups. I could read before I started school and would read to the class in reception. I didn’t like my body though. I am going to use how I felt growing up to try and encourage, using confidence building techniques, my children as they grow up.
When I was younger I dressed rather “Tom boy-ish”, always had trainers and track suits on. I rarely wore anything remotely girly, unless we went to a function as a family. I just didn’t think a dress or a skirt would suit me. I hated my body! I was skinny, too skinny. I barely fit in size 6 jeans when I was 18, that skinny. I had no chest and compared to my rather volumptuous friends, I didn’t feel girly and therefore pretty. I never really wore make up or didn’t have a clue about eyebrows. I didn’t have the self esteem to start learning.
Something happened when I got older, I think it was around about 25, I started to explore my feminity more. I started wearing dresses and skirts and exploring different make ups and hair do’s. Then when I fell pregnant my body changed so much, I put on weight for the first time in my life. I now weigh more than I did when I was pregnant with Noah at eight months. But I don’t mind. I’m happy with my weight and my body. Because I’m not that “skinny” anymore. I am, however, always worrying about my tummy but I’ve had two children and carried them both for 9 months and 1 week. So I have to allow for some changes like that.
It is really important for me that Noah or Isla do not grow up like I did. Hating my body. Self conscious. Comparing yourself to others. I had one friend who would get an outfit a week with her “pocket money”. I don’t suppose she was grateful for them. Not really. I want a balance for my children. I’m not going to spoil them so that they become bratty. But I want them to feel comfortable in what they wear and how they look, without comparing themselves to their friends and feeling sad.
We have had times when Noah has dressed up in Islas princess dresses or they’ve swapped PJs or something like that. We embrace it. It’s ok to swap clothes! Isla painted everyone’s nails at Christmas, including Daddy. Which I thought was great as it’s showing Noah that there are no gender boundaries in our family. If he wants to wear nail varnish he can. It’s ok. He didn’t. But that’s up to him. We try to encourage the children to wear what they want and be who they want to be. Positive thinking and positive encouragement. Asking for their opinions and asking them to choose their outfits for the day. I’ve started asking the kids to choose their clothes when we shop too. Noah loved it, which I was surprised about as I thought he would hate it. He chose bright coloured jeans and tee’s, he loves the items he came home with too. Getting them involved makes them happier and more confident.
The only thing I am guilty of, and I am going to try and get out of this habit, is if they come downstairs with odd and mis-matching coloured outfits. Isla might come down with bright pink trousers, under a red dress and have a yellow cardigan on. Great. It’s colourful. But, don’t you think a different colour cardigan would work with maybe some tights? I try not to twitch too much! Noah is the same. He likes to wear random colours and patterns. To them they don’t care. So why should I? As long as they’re warm and safe it’s up to them.
Here is a video of what Noah and Isla love about themselves, at 6 and 4 years old:
Do you have any tips on building confidence in children so that they love their body? I would love to hear them.