“Why don’t you brush your teeth?”
That was the first thing out of the mouth of the boy I was hopelessly head over heels for in sixth grade.
I tried to explain that I did brush my teeth, in fact I had never had a cavity! But I had too much fluoride as a kid and what resulted were mottled splotchy teeth, a condition known as hyper fluorosis.
I walked home that day with my friend Amy, fantasizing about the day that my little ugly duckling self would evolve into a swan.
“I’ll get my teeth fixed! I’ll get contacts! I’ll let my hair grow long! I’ll get new clothes! Tim will never know what hit him!”
Of course it took nearly five years to get my teeth fixed and once we finally did my mom could only afford to have the front two veneered. I finally got contacts my junior year of high school and my hair didn’t get long until I was married. *sigh* But during those seven-ish years I learned that my happiness wasn’t based on my hair, my teeth or what I wore on my face. And slowly…confidence came. (I mean, I still TOTALLY cared about my hair, teeth, clothes and glasses…but they weren’t everything.)
Through the magic of facebook I found Tim, but with nearly twenty years between that stinging comment that helped shape/destroy my confidence through the rest of my adolescence and now? I didn’t really care. And I really doubt he does either. Or that he even remembers saying it.
But man, it hurt. And it’s obviously stuck with me.
“Remember compliments you receive, forget the insults, if you succeed in doing this, tell me how.” -Baz Luhrmann
My little kid is in school now, with other kids who may not take her feelings into consideration. One day she will probably come across a Tim and he may try to destroy everything she knows to be true about herself in less than ten words. I work consciously every day to show my little kid that happiness doesn’t come from what you wear, what you look like or even more importantly what others say about you. Happiness comes from how you feel about yourself, and how you treat those around you.
It may be our most important job as her parents to help her realize, and hold onto, her self worth. Even when others attempt to destroy it. Of course I want my kid to be wicked smart, but above all else? I want her to be kind, to herself and to those around her.
I had the opportunity to talk about self confidence in myself, my little kid and the others around me with four other ladies. We all want the best for our kids, but at the same time we all realize that awkward growing pains are a part of life, and we’re going to do our best to get our kids through them.
How do you attempt instill an unshakable confidence in your kids?
Are you a parent to a teen? Could their confidence be vastly improved with a new smile? Blissfully Domestic and Invisalign Teen are giving away a full treatment (up to $5,500) to one deserving teen. Get the full details at the Invisalign Teen contest page on Blissfully Domestic with several ways to enter.
I was fortunate to be able to participate in this campaign with Invisalign Teen. I was compensated for my time in sharing my story and the Invisalign Teen contest with Blissfully Domestic, not for promoting a specific product (although you have to admit it’s a pretty darn cool product.) The statements and opinions are my own.