I read a post last night that made me feel like a real parental dumb-ass. I want you to read it, too. Not because I want you to feel like a dumb-ass, but because I’m interested in what the outcome of the game will be in your house. It’s designed to help kids develop a positive self-image. If you don’t have kids, you can play with the game with any other human. You may be as surprised as I was by the results.
Here are the highlights:
The mom who wrote the article had been trying to avoid having her daughter develop a negative body-image. Her tactic (and mine) was not saying anything about her body at all. Then thanks to Kate Winslet she realized she needed to do more (click the link above for those details).
She started intentionally talking to her daughter about things she liked about herself and her body, and encouraged her to do the same.
It wasn’t easy for her daughter and she was surprised.
I played the game with Anna.
Me: hey tell me three things you like about yourself.
Anna: [blank stare]
Me: three about your outside, and three about your inside.
Anna: um. I got nothing.
Anna: yeah, no.
I wanted to stab myself in the face. Is she serious right now (would break my heart), or is she just wanting me to shut up because she’s 10 (totally acceptable)?
Me: Okay I’ll name three things about you. You’re really smart – I’m so proud of you for being on the honor roll at school. You’re really funny – you crack me up all the time. You’re kind – you’re a great friend care about other people’s feelings.
Anna: [blank stare]
Me: Also, you have beautiful eyes, long legs, and a great butt.
Anna: [she laughed]
Me: C’mon you know all that’s true! Your turn – what do you like about yourself.
Anna: I’ll do you. Inside: You’re funny. You tell great stories. You’re kind. Outside: I like the veins in your hands – they look cool. I like your eyelashes. I like that you’re skinny – I don’t get how you do that.
Me: You’re not supposed to be skinny right now – your body is changing and doing really important stuff. It needs every inch of you to get the job done.
Anna: Okay you go. Three things about yourself.
Me: Funny. Hard worker. I care a lot about other people.
Anna: Okay three outside.
Me: [I’d rather have a stomach virus for three days than talk about my body. It’s fucked up. I know, and you know, because I told you about the dark shadow of vanity that haunts my family.] However, to appear comfortable and confident I chirped: I like my eyes, my feet and my smile.
Here’s what I thought but didn’t say: my skin is too dry, I need to make a Botox appointment, and start T25 – that’s my three. No bueno.
When the game was over I was struck by two things:
1. My daughter’s self-confidence in both categories was far lower than I would like it to be, and I didn’t even know it. Dammit.
2. My self-confidence in the outside category was lower than I’d like it to be, and I did know it, but I haven’t been doing anything about it. Dammit.
Take-away: our cat, Berrie, is the most self-confident creature in the house.
Her waist is as big as mine and she couldn’t be happier. I respect it.
Anna and I are going to keep playing this game until we make it our bitch.
Please name three things you like about your inside, and your outside. Was this game easy for you, or harder than you expected?