Consider yourself warned!
A guide for those who think they want children.
I was on the train last week. It was the rush hour home, so the train was crowded with people who really just wanted to get home so that they can (I imagine) unwind, relax, and possibly spend time with their families. There was his lady on the train riding with her two young children. The youngest was around 2 or 3 years old. That child was a little girl. She was a cute little girl. The kind that makes you say, “Oh, I wish my daughter was that age again. I miss that time of our lives.”, or “Maybe I’ll have just one more.” It is so easy to forget how little kids can behave when you see them with someone else. They look so cute and perfect. You gloss over all the challenges that come with raising toddlers and preschoolers. All you see is the cuteness, the sweetness, and how adorable those little kids appear to be.
Well, as I mentioned, this little girl was adorable. She was standing on the train, swinging her Barbie doll, as if she didn’t have a care in the world. Then, her mother took the Barbie doll away. Now, I understand why she did it, the train was crowded. Mom didn’t want her daughter to hit anyone with the doll. And, let’s be real. This is Brooklyn. If that child had hit someone, only God knows how they would have reacted. So, Mom did what she thought was best, she took away the doll.
When Mom took away that doll, that adorable, sweet, angelic little girl transformed instantaneously into the demon from hell. I know you all may think I’m exaggerating. But believe you me, I am not. This girl started shouting and crying … loudly. This kid started at level 1000. She didn’t work her way up to it like some kids tend to do. This one went right into a full out, let me get everyone’s attention mode.
I felt so bad for this mother. I know she wished that she could just disappear. I have to give Mom credit. She maintained her composure throughout the whole ordeal. I don’t think I would have had the patience she had. She talked to her daughter and explained why she took the doll away. But this kid did not want to hear reason. All she wanted was that doll back. And let me tell you, this kid was hollering so loudly, you would have thought she was getting the beating of her life. Mom didn’t lay one hand on her.
Now normally, I would side with the Mom and stand with her in principle. Mom should not give her daughter back her doll, but this kid would not let up. To her credit, as much as I’m sure me and the rest of the people on this train wanted her to give that doll back, Mom stood fast and held her ground. I understood. She had to take a stand and not give in to her daughter’s behavior. If she did, the only lesson that little girl would have learned was that she could get her way by having temper tantrums. I learned that day that the people who ride the 2 train are very tolerant. No one said anything or complained to Mom about her daughter. Everyone pretty much ignored the whole scene, even though we were a captive audience and had to endure that meltdown for a good 15 minutes (it felt like it was much longer).
Anyway, when you have little kids, get ready for the temper tantrums. They will come at the most inconvenient times.
So, now you know, and you can ….
Consider Yourself Warned.
How would/do you cope with a young child’s temper tantrum?
Earlier this week, my daughter came home from school upset. She told me that one of her white classmates saw her with her hair braided and asked her why didn’t she just wear a wig because it would look better. Can you imagine how my precious Angel must have felt? Her feelings were hurt. I don’t know the motive behind that remark, but I told my daughter that she should have told that girl to mind her own business and go to hell. Knowing that my daughter goes to a Catholic school, that probably wasn’t the best response to that situation. But hey, if she got detention for saying it, I would have been ok with it. Sometimes you just need to say what needs to be said.
My heart hurt that day. Kids can be so cruel, and I really think girls are the worst. They are catty, mean, and just plain bitches. They say things that can really damage other kids’ egos and can potentially ruin their self-images. Unfortunately for my daughter, and any other African-American girl, she is bombarded with images of women with bone straight hair. Of course, those women are considered to be beautiful, the ones the all the boys want. They see it every day in social media, on tv, in videos, and movies. And it really hits home when you see young black boys choosing the “Beckys with the straight hair” (as Beyoncé so eloquently put it). My daughter knows that her hair is fine just the way it is, but that remark still hurt.
Not only is she dealing with the hair comments, but she is skinny. She has always been skinny. Some of her overly developed and not so skinny friends make comments on her weight. Unfortunately, girls have been commenting on her weight since she was little. Once, she came home from summer camp and told me that she had to gain weight because the girls at camp said that she was too skinny. She was around 9 when this happened.
If its not the hair or the weight, its her belief that other girls her age are just prettier. That drives me crazy. I don’t know what she sees in the mirror, but it is surely not the beautiful girl I see every day. I don’t know if she’s comparing herself to other girls in her school, or if she’s comparing herself to the image of “beautiful” girls in the media. Either way, I wish she could see herself the way that I see her. I am hopeful that over time, she will.
So, back to the girl who felt the need to comment on my daughter’s hair. Later on in the week, I asked my daughter about it. She said that the girl is oblivious about the effect that remark had on her. This time, since I was no longer in angry mom mode, I was able to offer better advise. I told her that she may want to have a talk with the girl and explain that what she said was pretty mean (just in case she really thought she was being helpful) and explain that that comment made her feel as if her hair wasn’t good enough. That way, this girl is on notice that she better think twice before saying something again. As far as I’m concerned, if she makes another negative comment about her hair, the perfect reaction is “Go to hell!”. I didn’t tell my daughter that part. But, she knows her mom.
Media images glamorizing a certain look can damage some of these young girls’ self-images. We as parents must be mindful of that and always do what we can to let our daughters know that they are beautiful no matter what kind of hair they have, what their body type is, or what kind of clothes they wear. We need to remind them that beauty is in how they carry themselves, and that smart girls are sexy.
So, now you know, and you can … Consider Yourself Warned!
What advise do you have for teenage girls who don’t see their beauty?
SassyGirlTye lives with her two wonderful teenagers in Brooklyn, New York. No matter what she says in her posts, she truly loves her children with all her heart.