I don’t get to have many deep conversations with these girls while I’m running around chasing Scarlet. Shelby and Brooklynn are 9 and 10, and I was excited to talk to them and get a sneak peek on what is going on with tweenage girls these days.
I wanted to talk to them about being confident in themselves: These two are GOOD girls, and I want them to walk tall and be comfortable, even proud of who they are.
I found an activity using the Dove toolkit online that addressed confidence, and I loved what I learned about them. I hope our discussion today will trigger some positive confidence builders for them in the future.
We started out with a sheet of paper with a cloak on it.
We talked about what the word ‘confidence’ meant, and the people we knew that were confident in themselves. I compared a cloak to confidence and told them that if they put on this cloak of confidence, it would act like a shield that would help protect them when someone says or does something that might hurt them.
I got to hear about what sort of things happen to them at school that hurts their feelings, or when other girls did some thing that made them feel left out, or weird, or different. I got to hear what they are self-conscious of and how embarrassing and hurtful it is when people make fun of them.
I can empathize!When I was their age, I had the snaggliest of snaggle teeth ever made. To top that off, which would have been bad enough on its own, I had the thickest glasses in 3rd grade. I told them that we can’t hide behind the things that we’re embarrassed of; that we need to find the things inside or outside us that make us feel good or that we enjoy doing, and draw attention to those things. The rest just fades in the background.
Rather than being the girl with the gross teeth (like people could have referred to me back then), you can be a really fast runner, a really good reader, or an amazing friend.
So, our activity was to brainstorm things that made them feel sad or embarrassed or left out, and write them on the outside of our cloak…
and then brainstorm the things that we are good at, or that we can do that make us feel good, on the inside of our cloak — to help us block all the bad. They were so cute.
Some of the things they came up to counter-attack with were:
- • To find the good. When their friends aren’t treating them fairly, or make them feel bad, they thought that if they remembered something that they like about them, or something fun they did together, it could remind them why they are friends in the first place
- •To focus on the something they’re good at. When they have a bad day at school, they can come home and go to swim team, or dance, or cheerleading, and they’ll forget about the bad stuff that happened while they are doing something they love.
- • Talk to their parents. (How precocious!) Shelby identified that when she talks out an incident with her dad, he gives her great advice to help her work through a problem she is having with friends.
- • Serve others. When they help other people, it makes them feel good about themselves and their actions.
And when they feel good about themselves, they walk a little taller, and battle the mean girls of the world by being a good example. When you feel good about yourself and the choices you make, it becomes easier to be confident, regardless of how alone you may feel.
After we did our little cloak activity, making sure we knew how to be pretty on the inside, we painted our nails to help us feel pretty on the outside. I enjoyed my little date with these two ‘big girls’ and hope I can set a good example for them as a mom while they, in turn, are setting a good example for my little girls!
Any ideas to help me make sure my little girls feel pretty on the inside?