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unhappy 5 yr old?

(15 Posts)
smartie Tue 13-May-03 14:22:14

dd (5yrs) has over the last 6mths expressed her dislike for certain aspects of herself. She wants straight hair, hating her waves. Her thighs are too fat (that's a laugh). Her feet are too long and now she says she hates her voice!

She is a pretty, slim little girl of average height and above average inteligence. I this normal in such a young child? Should I be concerned?

I would be grateful to hear about your childrens development of their own self awareness, at what age and what form did it take?

robinw Tue 13-May-03 19:05:20

message withdrawn

charliecat Tue 13-May-03 19:38:54

My dd is 5 and she only know what she looks like because i hold her up to the mirror every once in a while to show her! Is your dd hanging around with older kids that shes hearing that from? The 10 year old from next door says the same sort of stuff as your daughter but not in a miserable manner, more a , everyone else is moaning about this bit so i will too.

Glee Tue 13-May-03 23:14:17

My dd is also five years old and also says she hates her voice. It is unusually deep for a girl and people frequently comment on it as she is small for her age and it is so unexpected. Other children (girls her age) have told her she sounds like a boy, which she has found very upsetting. It is heartbreaking when she cries and tells me how much she wishes she had a more girlish voice. I think she is a little more accepting of her voice now as I have told her many female singers have deep voices, and listening to some of them, she admits they sound wonderful.

Do you think other children have been teasing your dd or making hurtfull comments? It's amazing what I've found out about what other children have said to her months after it happened. My dd had no real awareness of her voice until the other little girl told her she sounded like a boy.

motherinferior Wed 14-May-03 07:52:44

If you think she's being bullied, it might be worth ringing ChildLine, which does lots of work on this. How horrible. And how awful that she thinks she's fat...

CAM Wed 14-May-03 08:18:09

Dear Smartie
My 6 yr old dd has said things like "I wish I had curly hair" etc on occasion, so I always say something positive such as "but you can lots of different hairstyles with your long straight hair" and she usually agrees and smiles. I've also had the "I don't want to get fat" thing but as I never diet she doesn't get that from me. I think sometimes it just takes a friend, or older child, to make a comment and our little girls take it so much to heart. I agree reassurance is everything and I've even moved my dd on a bit so she now says things like "It doesn't matter what you like, it only matters what you're like as a person"

CAM Wed 14-May-03 08:18:50

sorry, last bit should read "what you LOOK like"

Britabroad Wed 14-May-03 08:37:07

Where has she got these ideas from is the first question? Has she heard someone else say these things about themselves or have theese things been said directly to her? Knowing where she has picked it up from; another adult, TV or bullying may help.
Self esteem is major issue. Ask her what she thinks pretty people do? And get her doing it or wearing it etc
Try some books Taryn Toad Tosses Pebbles, I Believe in Me,Just Because I Am, all available at These stories sink in and lead to discussions really well with littlies' self esteem.
Hope these ideas help smartie.

Glee, how about joining a choir or singing lessons or a drama group. Anyway dark deep voices in women are thought to be sexy aren't they?

smartie Wed 14-May-03 09:13:45

Thank you so much for your responses. The bullying remarks are scary. At this age? My eyes will stay open and perhaps I should do some gentle digging. Her teacher did tell me a couple of months ago that she had linked up with a bitchy little group and did seem to struggle because she wasn't the bitchy sort, more of a (very) sensitive little girl. I have friends with children in her class who aren't in 'the bitchy group' should I attempt to steer her towards them?

Where did she get these thoughts from? One (chubby) little friend told dd that her thighs were fat. As for feeling fat, I've never dieted and am slim and contented. My sister, as a teenager, did suffer with anorexia. I doubt there's a link unless it can be genetic. Her voice I don't know. Her hair is very like mine was as a child and she may well be aware that I cannot bear mine. Bad insensitive mother that I must be.

Britabroard, thanks for the names of those books, I'll check out that site and head fot the library.

Robinw, she hears endlessly how wonderful, beautiful/affectionate/thoughtful... she is, I don't think this is helping enough.
Glee and CAM, I think your suggestions about looks don't matter (even though she's gorgeous) as much as the person inside and relating her dislikes to those around us who use theirs to their advantage are good ones, Thankyou.

Britabroad Wed 14-May-03 09:49:25

Invite the "nice " kids around for tea perhaps.
Say her legs have good strong muscles for jumping and gymnastics.Tell her her hair is curly like Goldilocks and Sleeping Beauty.
Kids can be really cruel and sensitive ones take it to heart. Arm her with some positive words to think or say aloud even when negative things are said to her.
Insensetive ?Then why are you concerned for her? I think it's great you are trying to do something to help her now.
Good luck.

Britabroad Wed 14-May-03 10:42:34

Thought of two books that DD has.
Mollys hair about a girl who dislikes her hair- really good
All kinds of people - a lift the flap book that celebrates children's differences

jmb1964 Wed 14-May-03 14:07:14

Smartie - how about making tapes of her telling stories and singing to send to grandparents or friends? Our children have done this at school and loved it - she might find she quite likes the sound of her wonderfully distinctive voice? It's scary how soon they pick up all these messages about being fat etc - our 6yo daughter is a beanpole but occasionally says things like 'I'd better not eat that in case I get fat'. I've been really careful to avoid that kind of talk at home, I think it's her peer group at school. She has lots of photos of herself in her room, in ballet clothes etc, and seems to like that. I always give the children loads of praise when they say nice things to other children - 'I like your new T-shirt' etc, as I don't think there's enough of that sort of talk around for any of us! Our oldest has an unusual and pretty name, and people often comment on it, so when peple tell her their name she often says 'Oh, that's a lovely name', even if it's Jane or something!

aloha Wed 14-May-03 14:28:04

Is it worth spending time learning a new skill, or just doing things she's good at - baking, painting, sport, whatever and focussing on getting even better at those so as to boost self-esteem. I don't believe you get real self-esteem from thinking you are pretty anyway. Maybe she could bake biscuits and decorate them and give them as a gift to someone - anything that's about doing and being good at something rather than just being. I know this works for my stepdaughter. She loves 'making' and improving and being captain of the netball team and it seems to help much more than being told she's beautiful etc (though we do that too, but not too much as I don't want her to think it's important enough to go on about - and yes, she does worry about her appearance, mainly about not being very tall, oddly enough). I do think regarding your daughter, it might be time to discourage the friendship with the 'bitchy' girl as it certainly doesn't seem to be making her happy. She'll probably be a bit relieved.

Glee Wed 14-May-03 16:39:04

smartie, I think it's a good idea to steer her toward the children who are not in the bitchy group. I never imagined such cattiness or clique-y behavior in 4 year olds but we experienced it anyway. And sadly, some little girls are clever enough to behave sweetly when adults are around but tease other children when they're alone. Of course, you are wonderful mother - - like Britabroad said, your concern for her shows how sensitive you are to her feelings! Gentle digging is an excellent idea; let her know how concerned you are and she may open up as to where she gets these ideas about herself.

Britabroad, I signed dd up for a drama class this spring, but she only lasted one session. Although she is not at all shy and very outgoing, she hated being on stage. She does say she'd like to be a singer. On a more lighthearted note, yesterday she was yelling at me about something and I asked her why she was angry. She replied, " I'm not angry, I JUST HAVE A DEEP VOICE! "

musica Fri 16-May-03 09:19:45

I'd be careful of going down the 'you have strong muscles' road, as that can be seen as confirmation that her thighs are too big. It's a tricky one isn't it - perhaps talking to her about why people feel the need to pull other people down, and also, emphasise that there is more to a person than what they look like. But there, you need to be careful not to make her think 'It doesn't matter that I'm not pretty.....' Good luck!

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