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. 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.
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
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.