My sweet, sensitive Elaina girl gets particularly upset if her hair isn't done just right or if her clothes don't look or fit well. If she's especially over-tired while getting ready for her day it can result in meltdowns if she doesn't have things her way. And I'm all about self-expression but minus the whining. I've never told her or expressed to her that she can't wear her hair or clothes a certain way unless it is improper and even then I'm gentle.
Well tonight she just started freaking out. I think she was tired on top of it but she had a meltdown about the oh-so-normal bruises on her shins from being a kid and playing hard at school. She kept rubbing her legs and bawling, telling me she didn't want bruises on her legs!
Ladies I had NO idea what to do. I just smiled and told her all kids get bruises on their legs from playing and crawling around and just from being kids. I told her I get bruises when I run into things. I played it lightly but her vanity is starting to concern me. Is this normal for an almost-6-year-old?! I try to tell my girls how much they are worth without resorting to physical attributes all the time unless I know they struggle with a particular attribute (like Abigail hating having her hair brushed - I tell her how beautiful and shiny it is when Mommy brushes it). I constantly build them up because I know how hard it is to be a girl and struggle with self-doubt and insecurity. I was an outcast as a kid but Elaina is Miss Popular. It shows me that even a child who does have many friends has insecurities; maybe even more than an outcast because they're in the limelight and under scrutiny.
Well in the end when I ran out of things to say in trying to encourage her that bruises on her shins are a normal part of childhood I told her that as it warms up and her friends break out their shorts and skirts to check out their legs. I told her I bet they'll have bruises on their legs too! Elaina is the only Caucasian girl in her class, the rest are all Hispanic so I think it also just shows up more prominently on Elaina. I also pulled Zoë's legs out of her sleeper and showed Elaina how her baby sister, who is a wild thing and gets into everything, has bruises on her legs from climbing, crawling and just being a toddler! It didn't help.
I think I'm going to write her teacher a note so she can help me in encouraging Elaina that it is normal and perhaps they can have a class discussion. I feel so inadequate sometimes. God gave me three daughters and I need to learn quick how to help them with a strong sense of self-esteem and self-worth. I'm considering getting the book Bringing Up Girls by Dr. James Dobson. Any other recommendations? Any blogs out there that are specific to raising girls in God's ways?