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Need some advice please!

I first want to say when I was a kid my mom never let me express myself, and I don't want to do that to my daughter...

(When I was getting my daughter dressed this morning. She told me Her Bff at school made a comment that her Cars sneakers were for boys. When she told me she had the saddest little look on her face. Back when we went shoe shopping she wanted the light up Cars shoes.
That was fine with us we want her to express herself and be happy. I mean she prefers dragons to Barbie's and race cars to dolls. Since they were black I picked up a white and pink pair also. Fast forward to today. I told her that they were great shoes (daddy agreed) and anyone can wear them. I asked her if she wanted to wear her pink Tinny's. She said yes... I was about to put them on, and she said. I want to wear the Cars Sneakers. She made me so happy. A little lady that stands up for what she wants.)

Can you ladies please give me some advice. On how to help her navigate a world that tells her she she be one way and not another?

Answer Question
 
Mom2princessq

Asked by Mom2princessq at 8:21 AM on Jun. 28, 2011 in General Parenting

Level 16 (2,593 Credits)
Answers (15)
  • No advice really just be supportive of her choices but still teach her what society is going to expect from her so she can be ready for it. Alot of moms dont seem to do that, so kids come home feeling bullied. If they are prepared to be told those are for boys and she can be ready mentally for it it wont be as big a deal.
    gemgem

    Answer by gemgem at 8:25 AM on Jun. 28, 2011

  • That's a tough one but really it seems like she's already got it under control
    3lilANGELS236

    Answer by 3lilANGELS236 at 8:25 AM on Jun. 28, 2011

  • Just encourage her as you are doing and encourage her to say things like "I like them" or any such similar response for times like you described. A simple quick answer helps her express herself and feel confident. And always explain that different people like different things.
    whitepeppers

    Answer by whitepeppers at 8:29 AM on Jun. 28, 2011

  • Little girls are so mean to each other! GRR I would say you did a great job and just keep encouraging her like that! Kudos!
    MommaB30

    Answer by MommaB30 at 9:03 AM on Jun. 28, 2011

  • I agree with others. Your daughter has pretty much got the situation under control. When i was a kid my mom mostly used to tie my hair in a braid or ponytail (as i had long and thick hair), my other friends especially the ones with shorter hair used to make fun off me and call me names like grandma or old-fashioned. It used to hurt but i would paste the snobiest expression on my face and tell them, "who care what you guys think, i like it, i prefer it this way. Its not my fault u girls dont have nice long hair...or u would also be braiding them like me" ...that would really shut them up. I know it was wrong of me to be mean back at them, and i would never give the same advice to anyone now. But my point is, u need to be confident about what u do and like and stand up for yourself. And shun them (especially your opiniated friends) in a nice way.
    cookie269

    Answer by cookie269 at 9:11 AM on Jun. 28, 2011

  • Good for her! I wish I had learned at a younger age that pleasing others is not what life is all about! I didn't learn this until high school, and I still regret trying to fit in and crying every night because I couldn't.
    lovingmy4babies

    Answer by lovingmy4babies at 10:56 AM on Jun. 28, 2011

  • I think maybe your opening line was about not being able to like what you liked & wear what you wanted when you were a kid, because your mom struggled to control or dictate those things? (So if you had wanted the Cars shoes, and they were marketed as "boys' shoes," your mom would have resisted your choice as wrong & definitely not allowed it, right?)

    Well, I was going to say that an important part of the answer to your question here is to remember let your daughter express herself, & to honor her expressions even when they trigger worry or sadness in you. But in this case, it would be emotional expressions.
    So that would mean hearing & allowing (ie, acknowledging without protesting, persuading, using logic, arguing) her feelings, whatever they are. For me, this is a "no-brainer" until I am triggered by something, & want to "encourage" her or "point out the alternate view" or guide her in some way. But that is when I
    girlwithC

    Answer by girlwithC at 12:44 AM on Jun. 29, 2011

  • (cont)
    most need to "allow." A way to do this is to reflect back what you are hearing from her in your own words, with no "rebuttals" or protests.
    Over a year ago, my daughter cut off her bangs (that she'd been growing out for a long time!) to the scalp. She had heard about the oil spill in the Gulf & that some people were collecting hair to make oil-absorbing mats for the water, and she knew we were trying to "get rid of" her bangs (growing them out) so she figured that would be the best hair to cut off (since she didn't want bangs, anyway!) Not flawless logic but endearing. After spending most of the summer with her obviously-hacked hair in front & the rest long, we settled on the idea of her getting a very short pixie haircut to deal with the extreme short length & let it all grow out together. She liked the idea of "pixie," & I think she was proud for a few minutes of her new haircut. There was a girl in the salon (w/ her
    girlwithC

    Answer by girlwithC at 12:45 AM on Jun. 29, 2011

  • (cont)
    mother) who was playing, and my daughter joined her across the room with my 2yo twins while I got my own hair trimmed. I heard them talking about their moms getting cuts, and my daughter said (I could hear the pleased pride in her voice), "I got my hair cut, too" and the girl looked at her and said, "I know. You look like a boy." I was watching my daughter's face, and she didn't register much in the moment (she didn't protest or argue, or get upset) but I could her stop short mentally, and that the wheels were turning, so to speak. It made its impression on her.
    When we got out to the car, she saw her reflection in the door & said, "Fairies don't have hair like this." I was so anxious to counteract any inevitable disappointment/remorse about an irreversible (and super-cute) haircut that I immediately said, "You're looking at the wrong fairies. I can show you some classic book illustrations of pixies when we get home." A
    girlwithC

    Answer by girlwithC at 12:47 AM on Jun. 29, 2011

  • (cont)
    woman walking by on the sidewalk overheard us & guessed what was going on, & commented that "You DO look just like a fairy with that haircut; you look great!" My daughter returned to looking at her reflection & didn't look convinced; I felt SO UPSET about that little girl's casual comment in the salon & I dreaded an uphill battle as a result, of trying to convince her that the girl was wrong, or that her opinion doesn't dictate reality, that it didn't even matter what SHE thought, etc. (This was when I was feeling powerless & afraid, which is what motivated my initial comments to her in the first place. They were defensive comments fueled by underlying anxiety: "Oh no, you're wrong. It's called a pixie haircut for a reason. It IS fairylike. You don't look like a 'boy.' People can have all different hairstyles regardless of whether they're girls or boys. That little girl doesn't know what she's talking about." I didn't
    girlwithC

    Answer by girlwithC at 1:33 AM on Jun. 29, 2011

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