Dear Bulldog, How should you help your child feel comfortable about any physical differences? My daughter was born with a cleft and is coming to the age where kids start to tease. What's the best way to keep her confidence and not let it break her spirit? From a Concerned Mom
Dear Concerned Mom,
Here are some ideas for your daughter. We would recommend being consistent with modeling behaviors and being repetitive to help her work on new confidence building habits.
1- We would recommend doing daily affirmations in the mirror. Do this with her and model the behavior. So look at yourself in the mirror and point at yourself. Say: “I love my hair, I love my eyes, I love my body, I love my skin, I am smart, I am a good person, I am kind, I am funny, I am a leader, I am good at math, I am brave, I am a good friend, I am a great mom, I love my live, I love my family, I love your daddy or mommy, I love my house, I love my style, I love my friends…Do at least 15-20 positive affirmations. Do it first thing in the morning. Do it with your daughter and help her own her strengths. Here is a link to great video to inspire you: Jessica’s Positive Affirmations
2- Do some role-plays about situations where your daughter would be teased. Have her come up with the situation and play it out. Use as much detail and come up with strategies together. You can come up with different role-plays and strategies. Make it into a game: put role-plays in one jar, then add strategies in the next jar. Once you have the jars filled you can pick one scenario and act it out. Do this game weekly, and add new strategies and scenarios as they come up!
3- Read the Wonder by R.J. Palacio with her. Go through the story and talk about how she would feel, what she would do. Go over the story and come up with strategies that she could use to help her. There are plenty of books, but this one is one of our favorites.
4- Have her build a strong circle of friends. Teach her about good friends and how friends treat each other. Give examples and ask her what kind of friends she want in her circle of influence.
5- Teach her about standing up for others and for herself. Give her the confidence to stand up and say: “That is not okay to say to me, stop you are being mean, you are hurting my feelings, or good friends don’t do that to each other.” By teaching her confidence and practicing standing up for herself. This will give her the ability to rise when others put her down.
We hope this helps you! Good luck with your daughter’s first day at school!