I need your help. Your wisdom. Your guidance.
You see, I need to instill self-confidence in my teen daughter. Only problem: I had zero self-confidence when I was a teen. A problem only exacerbated by my six-foot-tall-model-thin-chiseled-cheeked-beauty of a best friend.
Who, by the way, had her own deep-seated insecurities; but that’s a post for another day.
Let’s start with a mother’s bias: My daughter is beautiful. Tall. Leggy. Blonde. Blue-eyed. With a heart-shaped face. And a big heart.
And let’s start with one of her closest friends. She’s that girl. Every boy wants to date her. Every girls wants to be her best friend. She’s easy, breezy. Pretty. Approachable. Uber polite. She’s the girl who wins the student council President election. She’s the girl voted head cheerleader. And she’s the girl selected to perform the spotlight dance at the upcoming tea dance performance …
… the very spot my daughter had hoped to land.
And that’s when the green-eyed monster reared it’s ugly head. But she kept it to herself (good girl). She only shared her true feeling with me.
She’s truly proud of her friend. But …
her insecurities took hold.
I tried to reassure her. Tell her how beautiful she is. The importance of not focusing on what’s on the outside, and to work on what’s inside. How the spirit within is what shines through; what truly makes a person beautiful.
I tried to tell her to not focus on the “good things” that seem to always come to others. Because if she does … if she spends her time obsessing about others … she’ll completely miss all the “good things” that come her way. She’ll disregard them; denigrate them. Discount them as not good enough.
I may have even discussed her journey. Versus the journey of others. And how she should try and enjoy each day. Each step. Even missteps. Because even those missteps can be valuable learning opportunities. And can help shape that journey …
She listened. She truly did. Both earphones out and everything listened.
We’ll have to wait and see what (if anything) sinks in …
and I’m 99% sure we’ll be having this same conversation over and over and over again. Especially when she enters high school next year.
And any advice you, my wise and worldly readers, wish to impart on what else I can say — or do — to help build her confidence, I’ll forever be grateful.
My daughter (mom-bias-warning) truly is beautiful. If I looked like her when I was fourteen, I wouldn’t have been nearly as insecure as I was in high school!
Speaking of self-confidence, I’m not feeling much of that for my body at present. I need to step it up. Literally.
And get my diet in line. Starting with this zero point Weight Watchers Soup Recipe:
Makes 12 One Cup Servings
Weight Watchers Vegetable Soup
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 medium uncooked carrots, sliced
- 2 cups savoy cabbage, shredded
- 2 cups Swiss chard, shredded
- 2 cups uncooked cauliflower, cut into pieces
- 2 cups uncooked broccoli, cut into pieces
- 1/2 cup each red, green, yellow bell pepper, chopped
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1 rib uncooked celery, sliced
- 2 tbsp fresh thyme, diced
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp pepper
- 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)
- 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice (optional)
- 6 cups reduced sodium, fat-free vegetable broth
- 2 tbsp fresh parsley or chives, chopped
- Place garlic, onion, vegetables, thyme and broth in large soup pot. Cover and bring to a boil over high heat; reduce to low and simmer 20 minutes.
- Stir in parsley or chives. Season with salt, pepper and red pepper flakes.
Now if I could just find a 10-point-self-confidence-building soup recipe …
You Might Also Like …
0 Point Spicy Tomato Cabbage Soup (click here)
Weight Watchers Gumbo Recipe (click here)
Weight Watchers Stuffed Shells (click here)
Weight Watchers Fish Tacos (click here)
Weight Watchers Recipe Ideas (click here)
Hahaha…both earphones out listening…How I remember high school days. The best time of your life, really???
Sounds like you said all the right things.
I am going through this as well with my middle school son..he, in his words, lost his man card in gym. In front of the whole class and the cutest girl in the whole 6th grade! He is my brainiac…the geek with straight A’s, built his own computer at the age of 11, and no athletic prowess to be found. This only bothers him on gym days. School days can be hard.
Oh. Em. Gee. I would not parent a teenage daughter again unless the price was right (50 billion). So I end up co-parenting about 80 a year. I am sending my good juju your way. (And that soup was my favorite thing on Weight Watchers.)
Barbara Burke says
Ah, Linda… First, please tell me you had your daughter’s permission to include her journey in your blog… If not, big time apology needed. My “kids” are 40 & 38. They are both a good places in their lives, now., but it was not always so. We all know that it’s the hard things we face & overcome that make us strong, but It is hard as a parent to see our children go through these hard things. The things I’ve faced in my life, the things you have faced in yours, the things your daughter is facing…. All these add to our depth and our growth. You told her good things. I think you are both on the right track. Continue to help her understand that what she feels is normal. She is strong & smart, she’ll learn and move on…. To the next hard thing…., sigh…
I’m starting to feel bad about not telling her first! I might have to remove this post. Though, she never ever reads my blog. Her friends and her friends parents have no idea that I write a blog. In fact, I don’t really know many of them very well at all. Just acquaintances. And I realize these are all learning experiences for her. And she truly does have many, many more good days than bad. Thank you for your support and kind words of encouragement! 🙂 Linda
It’s (understatement) a difficult time for each of you. AT LEAST your daughter shares with you what’s going on. That means you’re more able to support her, and support is about all you’ve got. That said, I’d guess that even as she suffers through each day, her self-confidence inaccessible, your support is building up somewhere inside her, and once this dismal phase is over, she will emerge freshly empowered–with the benefit of all your extra support.
Our daughter had such a time, from the end of middle school through her sophomore year. She prevailed. Your daughter will, too.
Thank you for your boost of confidence! That truly helps! She seems to change from day-to-day … and I’m just hoping for more good days than bad days! And I do love that she confides in me. I think that’s really important. I want her to know I’m a safe place to come.
so here’s my two cents…. i don’t think you can just tell her she’s beautiful and that “if you looked like her” because we all have our own battles.” my daughter is not there yet, but here is what i learned from my own experience. self confidence can only come after self acceptance. you have to truly love who you are as a person to be able to walk with quiet confidence. so before you can work on confidence work on self acceptance. as a mom, i think we teach that best by being an example of it. teach her how to respect herself, and truly love everything about herself, how to embrace her uniqueness and the imperfections that make her HER.
I’m loving your two cents! And I agree. She does need to tackle the self-acceptance part of this! Thank you so much Cassie! 🙂 Linda
Tough when they are going through it. I used to remind my girls, “this too shall pass”. They have so little perspective at that age, Lots of love and open communication, plus being the best role model you can be, it really is not what you say, it is what you do and who you are, and kids have amazing B.S. meters. All will be well, trust yourself and trust your daughter. Hang in there, it passes so quickly! (perspective again!)
I know about this too shall pass. But when they’re in the moment the moment seems huge and never-ending! Thank you for your fabulous advice! 🙂 Linda
Ann C says
Only thing I can think of that might help her self confidence, ok now I’ve thought of another…1. Don’t write about her on your blog where her friends might see it. 2. Don’t stress about your body image so that she should stress about hers.
Too true! Fortunately, her friends don’t know about my blog. They’re too cool for Facebook and blogs and Twitter and Pinterest. They’re all on Instagram (which I have not done anything with yet). And none of her friends parents know about my blog either.
You are close , or she would never have told her true feelings. Keep that line of communications open at all costs. When she says nothing is wrong…tell her there is nothing she could ever say to stop you from loving her, she will always be your daughter. Tell her to write all in a letter to you, if she seems to not want to talk it out. She does need to know, that no matter how badly she desires something and works for it…it may not come her…but she should just keep trying, if for nothing else but to better herself . The more she works and knows, the better her confidence. Blessings to you both sweetheart. xoxo,Susie
Thank you so much for that lovely comment! You brought tears to my eyes. And, yes, I’m very happy that the lines of communication are open. We do spend a great deal of time together …
I am so happy to read you and your daughter are close and she feels safe confiding in you. She
I do like to keep the doors open and (hopefully) she finds a safe place in me to talk! 🙂 Linda
One of the best pieces of advice I’ve ever received is, “never compare your insides to someone else’s outsides.” We never truly know how happy another truly is; much like the friend you mentioned having as a child.
What great advice! I will absolutely be sharing that with my daughter! 🙂 Linda
Celeste Beverstock says
You are probably an amazing mother and you probably are a better mother than your own. A child can sense the emotions that are not said. My mother struggled with the confusions of having a daughter who had more than she had. When my mother was a child, she lived in total poverty. She had to work for her own food and sometimes had to make arrangements to find shelter when her mother was gone for long periods of time. Her daughter, me, had everything compared to her and she struggled with the frustration that I couldn’t take advantage of every opportunity given to me. It is the little comments, “You are so spoiled,” or “the heaviest thing you’ve ever lifted is a mascara brush.” I’m sure didn’t make these comments with a purpose to hurt me, but they did leave scars. I’m sure you are a great mother, even better than your own. Be a model of the kind of mother you want your daughter to be and tell her how you feel. And maybe tell her you hope that she gets to sit on the edge of her daughter’s bed, and find herself in the same position. A beautiful, intelligent and kind daughter who got runner up in some such event, yet has so many more opportunities to experience in her own life. Hope that helps.
Thank you so much for sharing your story! And for the reminder about how much our words can truly hurt. Even when said not to hurt but as an observation. I’ll be weighing what I say from now on – especially when she compares what we/she has with her friends (some of whom live in million dollar homes).
Thank you again for sharing your advice!
how long does this soup last in the fridge?!?! Safely. Lol.
Probably two weeks or so. You can also freeze it too and it will last more like a month then …
I’ve struggled with self esteem issues my whole life, but didn’t properly address them until I was raising a daughter of my own. I started early with my daughter telling her every day, “Do you know why you’re so beautiful? Because you have a kind heart”. She’s 5 now and when people tell her she’s pretty (which she is) she always responds with “I know, but I’m beautiful because I have a good heart”. Peer pressure is so strong, but I’m hoping some of that attitude stays with her as she grows. Myself – I got in to a dark place where I found myself spending hours on Facebook hating everyone I knew because their lives were so much better, their houses are so much nicer, they look better, etc. As an experiment I said that for a week whenever I felt like that I would do something to change the atmosphere – look up a new recipe to try, go for a walk, read a new blog, anything. Getting my mind off of those thoughts helped and then I felt proud of myself for doing something new, which made me happier in general and less jealous of those around me. Best of luck with your daughter!
I agree that unplugging is a healthy thing to do! Because people only show the good on Facebook and create a skewed version of their lives. My daughter and I are working on self confidence. And esteem. And starting with things we can control vs. always wishing we had this or that or the other thing. Trying to own and celebrate what we have!
Thanks so much for sharing your story and advice! I sooooo greatly appreciate it!
Susan Verwys says
I, too, was a 6 ft. tall,, skinny, blond, blue-eyed, studious teen-ager. I yearned to put on weight, as skinny was not in in the 60’s and 70’s (except for Twiggy). By going through a couple moves which necessitated changing schools, I quickly learned how snotty girls can be. I was not in the “in-crowd.”
My mom taught me a few valuable things:
1) Stand up straight – you could be a model! (I wasn’t pretty enough to be a model, but the message was clear.)
2) Anyone can follow the crowd. It takes someone special to stand out.
3) You are really smart. You can do whatever you want to do with your life.
These were not even conversations. They were straight messages, repeated at just the right times.
Hope these ideas help!
Zoey Jane says
Model self confidence. Overdo it, even!
(This advice is also for myself…my perfectly adorable, sweet & sensitive son just saw himself in a talent show video the other day and said “I look so fat.” My heart broke for him and I felt so guilty because those were my words coming out of his mouth.)
Say out loud when you feel pretty. Be proud of your blog, your wits, your charm, your humor. Lift yourself up; lift others up.
Also…time is a great equalizer. My family & I went to the local carnival tonight in my home town and there they were…kids I knew in grade school and high school; some I liked, some I didn’t like as much. Some were downright mean to me, some I hugged, super glad to see! And there we all were, a little fatter, a little grayer, a little wrinklier, all sweating and raising our kids together.
In fact, my best friend was the pretty, popular one and I was the chubby friend…smart with no sense of style and too much acne. Now in my 30’s I have an advanced degree and a consulting job that pays the bills and my darling friend struggles sometimes, to pay bills…and her youngest child’s father was in prison last I heard. No judgement, I still love her and we keep in touch on Facebook…it’s just to say that things change soooo much over time. Happiness & success look so different to so many people.
Happy growing up to your girl. Life is precious, every second (even the ones that are hard). Enjoy them or learn from them!
Teresa M says
Oops, typo in your recipe: “put brother in a pot”. I have seven of them but don’t think any of them will fit. Lol
Lol! I must fix that ASAP!!! 🙂