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Just shut the ef up about how my kid looks, okay?

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If I get my kid a hair cut or not, it’s none of your gads dang beeswax.

Owen hasn’t had a buzz cut since he was 5 years old. He’s 9 now. He likes his hair a long short. It’s short, but it lays a good 5 inches from his scalp. He just likes it kind of moppy.

Every since the haystack hair of preschool days started bothering him, he wears it longer vs. shorter.

Who cares? Right?

Except every dang blessed person needs to point this out to him. Stop already.

First there’s the grandparents. “Well hey son, your hair is getting kinda long there, when are you going to get a hair cut? I can barely see your eyes.

Then Owen will make a tear filled plea, “I wish kids at school would stop talking about my hair”, he’ll cry.

“Why do they talk about your hair?”, I ask.

“They say I look like a girl!”, he’ll cry.

Huh? Ya look like a boy to me kid. What, with your sports jersey, high tops and all that fart talk! So I tell him to never mind and it will all be okay, like any mom does, right?

Then there’s the discussion about his weight-

Did I mention Owen is skinny? He is. His dad is really skinny. Always has been. I mean, like lanky lean Russell Brand skinny. But without the cocaine addiction and long hair.

Owen will grow up to be just like his dad I’m sure. A blond version of his dad. Healthy, tall, lean, a good runner, great at soccer, super coordination, good balance. Yeah, but what do people talk about- how skinny he is.

Thanks people. You know what that does to him? It makes him feel like he’s not good enough being just who he is. It makes him feel like he needs to change to conform to some other ‘normal’ that people seem to picture him in.

How many times I have to give him the pep talk because he’s standing on the scale wondering when he’ll gain 5 pounds. Sure, lots of kids at school are chubby. Do we talk about the chubby kids? No. That would be mean. But telling my kid he needs to eat a cheeseburger because he’s like a bean pole, is okay? No. It’s not.

Yes- this is my son we are talking about. Not my daughter. My daughter who is 12 and you would think would be obsessing over her body, isn’t like this. She’s petite as well but I think she’s learning to appreciate her size, thank God!

Owen is only 9. He’s still getting there.

I tell him, when he stands on the bathroom scale and asks me if he can have a steak so he’ll gain some weight, “Owen, do you know how great it is that you are so lean and light? You know when you do a breakaway in soccer and you run with that ball like the wind? Remember that. That is what you are made for. Not how you look, not how big your muscles are, or a number on the scale. You just keep being you.”

And then he sighs and says, “okay, can I have ice cream?” Yes, son, after your dinner.

Remember what you say to a child. Even a child that is not your own. The words you say to them stay in their little minds and create a truth, a reality that might not be necessary for them to even know or hear. I remember everything said to me growing up about how I looked. And it’s still etched in my brain looking at my 40 year old self. The good and the bad.

This isn’t a, Woe is Me My son Is So Sensitive, post. It’s a, Think of the Words You Choose Towards Children post.



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  1. I got that all the time before Michael’s first real hair cut. Now at 16 he tells me when?

  2. So true and my older daughter has always been underweight for her age and shorter in height, too. I think at this stage it annoys me more than it does her, but am sure there is going to come a day when someone says this too many times about her being small that she will get upset or hurt. Seriously, people don’t think before they speak and can very much relate, because I have lost count how many times I have hear this about her being small for her age since she was a baby. Just never gets old, but would love to not hear it anymore!!

  3. My aunt tells a great story about this from the early 60s. She was about 5 years old and in a very awkward phase – she had an eye patch, she was chubby, and my grandmother had given her a bad home perm (is there such a thing as a good home perm?). Two Baptist church ladies came over to the house for coffee, and my grandmother had left the room to get a plate of cookies. My aunt came into the room to say hello, and as she was leaving, one of the ladies whispered to the other, “My, she’s not very P-R-E-T-T-Y, is she?” My aunt turned and responded, “No, but my Daddy says I’m very S-M-A-R-T!” Booyah!

  4. Sandy Tabick says:

    Having raised a whole family of lean, slim, trim, long legged handsome and beautiful kids, I hear you…..these are the words people should never use … never ….. never……. never…..skinny, thin, fat, tubby, chubby obese, anorexic ….yes I”m mixing the two conditions…. but I grew up slim, just like my kids….I hated being called a beanpole, skinny, etc…even ‘thin’ hurt…..my darling Nick…was slim and trim his whole life, and he ate like a ‘horse’ ……. and his (our) kids take right after him …….. not a spare lb to give away….. and are they georgous, leggy, beautiful, you bettcha ……
    “you’re words are right, and I sure hope you get right in the faces of those you can ‘relatives, friends’ who say the ‘wrong word’ for a wonderful healthy body …… be it slim or heavy …… they left themselves wide open for a fugalistia berating….have at it my love …… in you most nicest and distaining manner ….absolutely forbid those comments……. I do even now, when these same wonderful slim genes (that allow slim jeans) are discussed about my grandchildren…..cause bless their hearts, they did inherit grandad’s slimness…..and its damn goodlooking on them…..It went so far once, my m-i-law squeezed Amy’s arm, at the grand age of 6months and declared her skinny and I best start feeding her, she was a totally nursed baby……good grief…..and I said my ‘words’…..

    • Oh what I’d give for some Tabick genes!! Seeing pics of Megan’s long skinny legs always makes me jealous. People just need to keep their noses out of other people’s stuff!! Love you Sandy!

  5. Susan DeBartolo says:

    I so wish that your comment, “Do we talk about the chubby kids? No” was indeed true. The part about those comments being mean is true but is surprising how that still doesn’t stop folks from saying something. We suffer the other side of the issue in that my son is very tall for his age and struggles with overweight issues. He just doesn’t have the speedy metabolism that his sister has. In fact, for some reason, his is much, much slower than an ‘typical’ 9 year old metabolism and we are still seeing doctors trying to find out why and he is learning how to work around it. He, unfortunately, gets comments ALL the time from both kids and parents about his size, which leaves him feeling the same way that Owen does about his size, but on the reverse. So yes, I totally agree with you that the bottom line is people do really need to be mindful of what they say to kids!

    • I’m sorry Susan! I wish people would just keep their mouth’s shut. It’s nobody’s business. My nephew was always a hefty, chubby kid. Now he’s a lean, athletic high schooler that found his niche in sports. I hope you find Alex’s groove soon and people stop with the comparisons!

      • Susan DeBartolo says:

        Thanks! I hope that we find his groove soon too for Alex’s sake! Each year gets harder and harder as for some reason, folks seem to be even more free with their remarks/comments as he grows older. I give him pep talks all the time just like you do for Owen! Definitely a great topic to bring to the forefront as we start off a new Year!

  6. I too am the wife of a tall, svelte guy (who used to have hair down to his butt)! We changed the term thin and skinny to svelte, he just likes it better! 🙂 Our son is exactly like him (down to the shaggy hair for years). I, on the other hand, am short and round. We get people asking my husband if I am our son’s biological mother. Hmm, the funny thing is, while my son looks just like my husband, he acts just like me. So, while he was growing up (he is 19 now) and people called him Shaggy and Jughead, he would point out the things about them that they couldn’t control. After a few times of pointing out Grandma’s grey hair showing, or someone’s acne, word got around and now, at 19, he is a happy healthy 170 at 6’2″. I am still short and round!

  7. julie day says:

    I couldn’t agree more! My daughter who is 6 (yes 6!!!) is so self conscious it’s terrifying! I have to remind her daily that she is very beautiful & just because she has a mole on her nose doesn’t make her ugly, it makes her unique; just because she chooses to have long hair doesn’t mean she’s not cool like the other girls with short hair! I’m very outspoken to the point that I know I sometimes need to filter what I say so I’ve tried to raise my kids with this filter & now I’m beginning to regret it. My husband & I have begun to teach all of our kids what should & shouldn’t be said & when it’s an appropriate time to say it, unfortunately not all parents are teaching their kids the same …

  8. You know, this is so true. When I was in high school, a person in our family told me that it was no use dieting because my build would never “allow me to be skinny”. Those words have stuck with me my entire life. Children are sponges and they take all these comments to heart. Great post, Frug! xo