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Today I ran across a video of my kid singing the Colbie Caillat song “Try.” After doing the ugly, snotty cry, I had a revelation: it’s time for kids to take accountability for body shaming and bullying each other. And, not only that, it’s time for us, as adults, to hold each other accountable for what our kids are doing and saying to each other.

But, I’m getting ahead of myself.

Let me rewind for a second . . .

My daughter was always drawn to that song “Try” by Colbie Caillat. It’s about women who are trying to please everyone else and how we just need to be happy with how we feel about ourselves.

It goes like this:

Put your make-up on
Get your nails done
Curl your hair
Run the extra mile
Keep it slim so they like you, do they like you?

Get your sexy on
Don’t be shy, girl
Take it off
This is what you want, to belong, so they like you
Do you like you?

You don’t have to try so hard
You don’t have to, give it all away
You just have to get up, get up, get up, get up
You don’t have to change a single thing



Wait a second,
Why, should you care, what they think of you
When you’re all alone, by yourself, do you like you?
Do you like you?

You don’t have to try so hard
You don’t have to, give it all away
You just have to get up, get up, get up, get up
You don’t have to change a single thing

 

It’s pretty powerful. See for yourself:

The Start of Body Shaming

One day, when we were driving home from Spanish class, “Try” came on the radio. After the song was over, my daughter was quiet for a little while and then she said, “Mommy, am I fat?”

My hands tightened on the steering wheel. I felt the tears stinging the corner of my eye. As I fought them back, I met her gaze in the rearview mirror. I attempted a weak smile and said, “Why do you ask?”

She shrugged the shrug of a girl with a weight on her shoulder that she wasn’t ready to talk about.

She wasn’t even 10 years old yet.

My daughter is a girl who is a lover of life. A kind soul who made me stop the car one time to pull a person’s trash can out of the road because “she didn’t want them to have a bad night when they came home from work and saw their trash can had been run over.”

This is a girl who, at four years old, told me that she wanted to donate baby nighties to kids in need because she was worried that they didn’t have comfort at night.

Ella made $600 for kids in need hosting a lemonade stand.

One time at 7 o’clock at night (after a very long, exhausting day), this child told me she wanted to have a lemonade stand the next morning during our neighborhood garage sale to benefit kids in need. She raised $600 for those kids in four hours . . . at a lemonade stand I didn’t even want to do.

This kid volunteered at a homeless shelter once a week for a year because “those kids are my friends.”

For seven entire months, my daughter homeschooled from the waiting rooms of hospitals while my dad was dying and then when my mom had brain surgery just a few months after. She did not complain one time. Not even when we couldn’t celebrate her birthday because we were at the hospital.

This is my daughter and her kindness and caring for others.


And with one body shaming word, another little girl crumbled all the awesomeness that is my daughter and compacted it into a vile cube of awfulness.

And, I blame you.

Well, not exactly you, but us — especially us moms.

We’re failing our children. specifically our daughters. We’re failing our kids because we are refusing to hold them (and ourselves) to the basic rule of accountability and kindness:

IF YOU DON’T HAVE ANYTHING NICE TO SAY, DON’T SAY ANYTHING AT ALL.

If you are a mean girl mom who is teaching your daughter to be a mean girl, STOP.

And, if you are using words like “fat” and “skinny” around your daughter to describe yourself and others, STOP.

If you are someone who tears others down to feel better about yourself, STOP.

Our daughters are watching and the future of how they treat each other depends on you.

They’re watching. And, they’re learning. Your inability to look inside yourself and what is happening in your own home is crushing who my daughter is.

And, I’m tired of dealing with it in my home while you ignore it in your home.

If the behavior your kid is exhibiting isn’t being modeled by you, then it’s coming from somewhere — the shows they watch, the music they listen to, and the people they hang out with regularly.

It’s time to make the tough decisions.

It’s your job — IT’S YOUR JOB — to stop this.

And, if you don’t want to stop it, I will. It’s my job to protect my daughter and I’m going to start calling you out for the things your kids say and do (and I hope you’ll do the same for me and my kid).

Our daughters are hurting themselves and others at alarming rates and it needs to stop NOW.

We need to teach our kids that for every action there is a reaction (and, sometimes a consequence).

“But, that’s not MY kid . . .”

If you’re reading this and thinking, “Is that my kid?” then it probably is.

But, you already know this.

You’ve probably known for a while from that pit in your stomach you’ve been ignoring when you witness your daughter doing or saying something that just isn’t right.

And, if your kid isn’t saying those body shaming (or other bullying things), then, chances are (sadly) that your kid might be on the receiving end.

Pay attention.

Watch and listen to how they interact in peer groups.

Review what they’re watching and reading and doing online.

Be aware of how you’re describing yourself and others.

DON’T WAIT UNTIL IT’S TOO LATE. DO SOMETHING RIGHT NOW.

Circling Back . . .

That day in the car, I was angry. I was angry that my daughter had to hear that from someone she considered a friend. I was angry that I can’t protect her from this cruel world.

But, mostly, I was angry that I had to do a job that should’ve started in your home.

Not long after that awful car ride where I reminded my daughter that she is beautifully and wonderfully made, and that our differences — even in how we look — are what make us amazing and unique, and that those differences are what make this world so interesting, she asked me if she could learn the song “Try” in music class. I said yes.

If one little girl can be so strong, then it’s time for us to be, too.

It’s time for change and that change starts with the hard work of looking at yourself and even calling out your mean girl daughters.

It’s time to stop talking about change and instead start the change process.

Our daughters’ lives depend on it.

Always hope for the best and the best will find you. Ella W.

 

If this post is making you mad or uncomfortable, it’s time to take a step back and ask yourself why.


Need Help Getting Started? Books on Bullying for Kids

Have You Filled a Bucket Today? (AFFILIATE) Stick Up for Yourself (AFFILIATE) No More Bullying (AFFILIATE)
Stand In My Shoes (AFFILIATE) 8 Keys to End Bullying (AFFILIATE) Don't Let Your Emotions Run Your Life for Kids (AFFILIATE)

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Author

Jacqueline Wilson is a writer, mom, wife, homeschool super freak and #1 Bestselling Author of It's Homeschooling, Not Solitary Confinement. She has been featured at Huffington Post, Parenting Magazine, Redbook, Kiwi Magazine, Fox News, and more. She is a discriminating sock monkey enthusiast and has a small collection of rescued pets. One more and she gets a free set of steak knives.

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