Thursday, 3 November 2016

Words Can Hurt....

At our 20 week ultrasound Mr monkeyfeet and I discovered Peanut was a girl, we left the sonographers room, walked hand in hand from the antenatal suite and then I BURST INTO TEARS, don't get me wrong I love my girls, I love all of my kids with all of my heart but one thing was there in my head

 'Girls can be so mean, boys are so much easier they just fight and its over, girls torture each other delicately and for longer' 

The Mr obviously thought I was insane but I remember from school how long disagreements can go on with girls and how hard it can be and I was scared, for me, for her for what would come! I now realise that actually we parents can change this, my  thoughts that day were based around what I saw at school and we have the power to change how our daughters (and sons) deal with issues at school we can make their experience different.

And so it has started, already at only 7 years old we have had tears about unkindness and mean words but you try to strengthen their confidence and teach them how to deal with things without reacting in the same name calling manner. Give them the tools to share their feelings and help the other person understand how their actions impact others, but today was too much.

Today my peanut told me this story

'You know why I gave up dancing '
'Yep, and you know I'm supportive if that is what you want but we have talked about not letting it bother you'
'Well today someone told me that I'm getting fat because I don't do dancing and that's why I'm already fat'

FAT, FAT?!?!?! Why oh why does a seven year old child know to use fat as an insult, to hurt someones feelings deliberately ? Where does that come from? 

I will be honest the words 'what the actual F**k' almost slipped out of my mouth before I could recover my composure. And I rarely swear but I was shocked and worried, Peanut is really hurt by it, she seems to somehow know that this is an awful thing to be called?! 

This is not the first instance of its kind and I have followed all the proper channels to deal with it but I need to vent, and this is why...

Its really important as parents that we talk about ourselves and others in a way that we would be happy for our children to also talk about themselves and others.

When I was 12 a younger girl from a family I knew told me I was 'a fatty', now then I knew this was a bad thing because my Mam spent my entire childhood unhappy because she was fat, my Step dad 'jokingly' called her 'fat belly gut bucket' to inspire her to try harder at dieting, I've sat through Weight Watchers, Rosemary Conley and Cambridge Diet consultations or meeting with her, I have watched her try, Slim Fast, Slimming Aid, Bran Slim, The Heart Diet, Cabbage Soup Diet and a hundred others and I've seen her be miserable because she thought she was 'fat and ugly' (her words)  so obviously my 12 year old brain knew that fatty = ugly = bad = unhappy so I had better do something quick.....

Oh this was me at 12

By 13 I was proud that I had lost enough weight that I could see my ribs, I hid food in my school bag and disposed of it at school instead of eating it and then I started making myself sick. Thankfully I was found out (not by my mum) and a bit of quiet reassurance stopped me for a while but I now have an really unhealthy relationship with food, I will however never ever let my children know about this, about my insecurities around weight nor will I use derogatory terms about appearance because I'd be sad if they had the feelings I did about my appearance while growing up, my children are confident and happy and I'd like them to stay that way.

It may sound like I'm over reacting but I'm not alone, a friend of mine was told at 5 she was fat by another child and can remember eating sweets secretly so no one could say anything about it?!?!?!

Parents of the world, the things you say and do, the things you let your children watch and read all go into the dialogue they use for themselves and others, we need to take a responsibility for teaching our children (not just our girls) that our words have repercussions, that an insult now stays in the back of children's minds, that our kids worry about the things they are told. Please please be kind to yourself in front of your children, let them see us filling the world with kindness and compliments and teach them that being nice is nice and that being mean lasts longer than the time it takes to say the words.

What do you think? Are you conscious of how you talk about yourselves and others in front of your kids? 


  1. Love this post Karen (although obviously not what Peanut is going through). I try not to use words like skinny ect..... and always, always use the words strong and healthy. EG it's important we go for a walk this weekend to stay strong and healthy rather than 'to stay slim or lose weight'. I hope Peanut is ok xxx

  2. Well said Karen, I had a similar experience too where a throw away comment from an adult in my teens made me want to lose weight when in reality I wasn't even overweight!! The same happened to a relation of mine who became anorexic! You know, even teenagers don't always have the full reasoning capacity to realise that the person making those comments is wrong, so for younger children it's even worse. it's great that you're speaking up about this as it may encourage adults to discuss this with their kids and make them think twice about how their own comments effect kids too! June

  3. OMG I'm totally with you. My only girl is 3 but I've put a lot of effort into making sure my boys don't use the 'F' word - especially about girls / women. Charlie (8) knows that calling somebody fat is the absolute worst thing you could ever do and if he hears it, he calls people on it. Best you can do I guess. I dread going through this with my girl though xxx

  4. Yes totally. I was telling Mark the other day, I remember instances like this as a child. Aged 9 or 10 a girl told me I had fat thighs when I was wearing shorts. Then aged 11 a girl's MOTHER told me my tummy was fat (it categorically was not looking back). I'd like to go back and shake her for the damage she caused to my self confidence. Who does that!? I'm sorry someone has said this to your daughter. Well done for being mindful about it.