A few days ago an online friend posted a link about a mom who, to help her 8-year-old daughter “be perfect,” win pageants and “become a big star,” is reported to have repeatedly injected the child with botox. Melissa challenged her readers to say something loving and compassionate to the Mom. It took me a while but here’s my attempt.
I don’t agree with what you’re doing, but I choose to believe that you want what’s best for your child. In that spirit, I have a few thoughts to share.
Even though your daughter may be telling you she enjoys these treatments (and the waxing!) I wonder what else she thinks. Despite our best intentions, kids sometimes understand our support in ways that we don’t intend. Are you sure she is interpreting this “beauty obsession” of yours as support? What if she sees the opposite? What if she believes you are trying to make her “less hideous?”
There was a picture. Your daughter is beautiful. Let’s assume that all three of us agree on that. What about the “big star” thing?
I raised a big star. Click To Tweet
I raised a big star. So did my husband. Some of our friends did, too. But you won’t see them on a pageant runway, in the Hockey Hall of Fame, or in the winner’s circle at Saratoga. They star in their lives, their jobs, and their communities. They are All-Star friends and stellar parents. They are kind and generous and smart and hardworking. And loved.
They are All-Star friends and stellar parents. Click To Tweet
This might not be the stardom you’ve got in mind but have you considered the possibility that she may not become “the other type” of a star? Please, please, please support her in preparing for either result.
Back when the only career my 9-year-old could imagine was playing left wing for the Boston Bruins, I didn’t tell him it was impossible. Instead, we looked together at the:
- number of kids enrolled in youth hockey v. the number of NHL players
- importance of diet, exercise and injury prevention
- length of professional athletic careers and the need to have a “Plan B”
- importance of teamwork
- negotiation skills along with the ability to read and understand contracts
- fame can sometimes help sidetrack people from their values
Congratulations for helping her dream big. Click To Tweet
I’ll bet there are essential life skills you can help develop in your daughter — even within the pageant settings. You should be congratulated for helping her dream big. I hope your big dreams include all of the other unique contributions she’ll be able to make — with or without media stardom. Please help her value the rest of her beauty.
P.S. I’d have written sooner, but I had a hard time with the statement about helping her “be perfect.” And remember to enjoy today and her already perfect 8-year-old self.
Brilliant open letter to that mother who injects her own child with Botox in her face (Seriously, that mother is already committing abuse on that poor kid). Just want you to know that you are not the only one who is concerned and upset.
Thank you for taking the time to add your thoughts. I know that many people are concerned and frustrated by this sort of thing… that’s why I’m trying to add something useful to the conversation. It’s too easy just to be critical and dismissive. I appreciate your kind comment.
Keyuri Joshi (on the ball parent coach)
Well said Andrea. And you said it nicely… I suspect because you have AWESOME life skills!
Thanks, Keyuri. Awesome, huh? Probably just a little “Fall down seven times, get up eight.” LOL
So powerful and well written, Andrea! I see this blog post becoming an article in some national parent/teen/family magazine where MANY others would read and benefit from your “letter.” As a former teacher, I see this audience also enjoying your word wisdom as well.
Thank you for your kind words. Wanna be my agent??? 😉
Wow … very powerful and well written. I’m glad you took time to write as I am not sure I could have been as kind. Thank you
I try to stand by the belief that we’re all doing the best we can with what we’ve got.
This is a powerful letter Andrea and acknowledgement of our desire as parents to support our children in living their dreams and the responsibility to empower them with a belief in themselves no matter whether the dream develops into reality or not. One of the last lines brought it all home for me though, “Please help her value the rest of her beauty.” When we encourage our children to see the beauty of their wholeness, lines and all, we are then in service of their growth rather than burdening them with ours.
Thanks, Kelley. You’ve hit on what I think is one of the most important questions parents need to ask themselves: is this for my child or for me?
That was a wonderful response. I have to be honest and say that you were a lot kinder to that mother than I would have been. I guess there was a lesson for all of us in your letter!
This is powerful, Andrea. Thank you sharing your heart-centered letter. Your words are kind and I love how you weaved in your parenting experiences. May your pearls of wisdom help parents to support and listen to their children’s dreams.