My toddler's desire to run around the house naked increases by the minute. Those of you with 2-year-olds totally understand! She has a newfound desire to strip down naked in an attempt to "try" to use the big girl potty, but inevitably, she gives up on that and just runs around the house in her birthday suit. I think she secretly just likes the feeling and freedom of being naked.
It's like when you've been out in cold weather totally bundled up in down jackets, long underwear, wool socks, etc... and you finally get to peel it all off. Ahhh, sweet freedom!
The other day, she was running around the house naked and chasing the doggies when she suddenly stopped to look at herself. "I naked!" she proclaimed. She twirled, smiling.
I said to her, "Mommy loves your pretty body."
Well, I guess it stuck in her little 2-year-old mind. Because now at random times throughout the day, she looks over at me and says: "Mommy loves my pretty body," all proud and smiles. Or if I'm rubbing her back at night, she'll look over at me and say: "Mommy loves my pretty back," accompanied by sweet giggles. Or, "Mommy loves my pretty belly."
Yes, my dear. I do. I love every little toe, finger, strand of hair and dot on your pretty little body.
She really is a beautiful girl inside and out, soooooooooo healthy, growing taller by the minute, and full of curiosity, empathy and love. I want her to know that she is beautiful, that I love her completely and that she doesn't have to strive or try to gain my acceptance. And I want her to hear positive messages from her mother... the person who loves her the most.
Our words matter. And what we say to our children and how we build them up (or tear them down) has lasting effects. Seemingly little negative comments can stick with them for the rest of their lives. I still remember, to this day, 20-some odd years later, a specific negative comment that was made about my body as a teenager (albeit unintentional). It made me doubt my self-worth and question whether anyone could really love me.
As adults, I think we need to be really careful about not only what we say directly TO our children, but also what we say about other people AND ourselves.
- Are you constantly saying you need to lose weight in front of your kids?
- Are you constantly putting yourself down?
- Are you constantly pointing out flaws in others?
- Are you constantly nit-picking at your spouse?
Our kids hear these things. And will start to project those things onto themselves.
Instead, let's build up our children. Daily.
Let's teach them to be healthy.
Let's cultivate empathy and show care and concern towards those around us.
Let's help them to be confident in themselves and their abilities.
Let's start modeling happiness and thankfulness.
Let's be kinder to ourselves in their presence.
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