Eleanor Douglas-Meyers is a crafty mom from Uitenhage who writes about DIY, parenting, natural hair care, fashion, food and fun on her blog JustEllaBella
Aidan is often invited to parties (maybe not so much after this post) … He is shy, so we inevitably find ourselves standing off to the side so he can play near mommy, which gives me loads of people-watching time.
I’ve noticed a trend which really annoys me; People commenting on childrens’ appearances within earshot of the child, either to the parents or referencing the parents. It’s rude and awkward! STOP IT!
“Oooh she’s a fat one hey, look at those fat thighs”, “Ooh wobbly baby”, or “Shame this one looks malnourished, so skinny! Children these days are just too skinny”.
I notice the hurt in the parents’ faces and the confusion in the child’s face and I just can’t think of one reason for adults to behave like that.
Perhaps the only explanation is that they are just not thinking about it, it’s just a child, it’s just an observation.
Aidan doesn’t get many comments, he is a pretty average, “under the radar”-sized kid.
His comments are usually about his hair and that it’s a good thing he is a boy with that bush of curls, because it would be unmanageable on a girl. (Uhm, they seem to forget that I have a bush of curls and I’m a girl.)
What I don’t get is WHY … why do people feel the need to dissect a kid’s appearance right in front of the kid?!
It’s hard enough as an adult when another “adult” says: “Wow, you have gained weight” or “wow, you look sickly thin” (or am I the only one who knows rude people like this?)
I imagine the effect is way worse on a child who is still developing their sense of self.
Hush up, you don’t know their story
I’m not beyond reproach, I have seen a mom loading a trolley up with junk food while a very chubby toddler holds on to her leg and I thought, that’s probably not the best idea, but it’s not my kid so I keep my mouth shut!
I don’t know who that junk food is for or why the child does not conform to society’s norms (let’s be honest, I don’t either).
Perhaps the kid has a health problem or the mom is a caterer, so I hush up, because I do not know their story.
Pointing out a four-year-old’s chubby thighs is not helping anyone. In fact, if a child’s weight is under or over by any margin, I am willing to bet that the parents are well aware and freaked out enough.
It’s not like you are doing a public service. “Wow he is really big, hey” … and the parent would be like, “WHAT?! I had no idea! let me rush out and speak to a doctor, thank you for possibly saving my kid”.
And while I am on this soap box … why do people feel the need to compare kids to each other right in front of them.
By all means compliment kids, I believe it’s good for them, but don’t let three little girls walk into a room and say something such as, “Oh well, aren’t you in the pink, such a cutie”.
Inevitably the one in the purple and the one in the blue will hear you and go home wondering why they are not cuties.
We need to teach kids to embrace their differences, they need to know people come in various shapes and sizes, some have long hair, some have short, some have curly hair others have straight; eye colours differ, skin colours differ, WE DIFFER and it’s okay.
But I think if we want to raise kids who are not little jerks, we need to be weary of being big jerks …
That’s my little rant, my humble opinion.
See more from Eleanor at justellabella.co.za