Rebecca has a three-year-old son who has a flat nose. He was born that way. It doesn’t affect his breathing, nor does it manifest in any health condition. It’s how he looks that’s been affected by not having a nose society says is beautiful. The running joke in the family is that when Rebecca’s son is allowed to undergo rhinoplasty already, he should do it so others in school won’t bully him. The family doesn’t realize that the kid doesn’t need to go to school to get bullied. He’s getting that from his own family. These jokes are hurtful and unhelpful.
Unsurprisingly, Rebecca feels for her son. Although she wants to play along with the jokes, she’s hurting inside. She’s also harboring some ill feelings toward her own family members, who keep repeating the same joke about her son’s nose. She doesn’t find them funny anymore, although she tries hard not to show it outside.
But when she and her husband are alone, she worries about whether their family is right. Is a simple nose problem going to be the cause for her son to get bullied in school? Should she already consider a nose lift? Should she go to an aesthetic clinic and consult about her son’s case?
The first thing that Rebecca or anyone else in her position needs to do is to accept these flaws. Who else would accept such imperfections in your kids but you? Who else will love them wholeheartedly—flaws and all—aside from you? Your kids are not perfect, but aren’t they perfect in your eyes? Before you can teach your kids to love themselves and accept these flaws, you must first do that for them. Only then will you have the credibility and the authority to teach your kids to welcome these flaws and accept them.
A Flaw is Just a Flaw
Your flaws don’t define who you are. Rebecca’s son might have a flat nose, but he’s advanced for his age. He can read three-letter words, and his hand-eye coordination is topnotch. But even these skills don’t define a person. A flaw is just that… a flaw. It’s part of who you are, but it is not who you are. Instead, a person is made up of stories, interests, and passions. Everything else is external.
So, how can you make your kids understand that? The moment you accept your kids’ physical imperfections, it becomes easier to talk about them. Once your kids are old enough, don’t be afraid to talk about such physical flaws. They will hear it from someone else—whether in school or within your own family—so why not confront the elephant in the room?
You have to make your kids understand that just because they do not have the same color or physical attributes as others doesn’t mean they are less than them. Simultaneously, just because they are considered more beautiful than others doesn’t mean they are better than them. You are in a position to teach your kids how to value a person more than what they see on the outside. Once they understand this very basic human value, it becomes easier to teach them to accept their own flaws, physical or otherwise.
Know the Risks
Trust that as they grow older, your kids will be smarter than you in terms of accepting their imperfections. Although kids suffer from the deluge of societal pressure, they are better inclined to identify when they are being played. Hopefully, with your guidance, your kids are going to shrug off whatever kind of jokes they will hear about their perceived weaknesses.
And when they decide to address these physical imperfections through cosmetic surgery or not at all, it is up to you to accept these decisions. When your kids come up to you one day intending to have a cosmetic procedure, don’t immediately say no and say they are too young. Hear them out and when the time is right, ask them about their feelings and whether undergoing the knife will help those feelings.
Parents often have the thinking that their role is to correct everything in their kids’ lives. By not allowing them to face challenges, mistakes, and flaws, you are taking away the chance to learn from them. You’re not going to be with them all the time. All you can do is try to fit them with the values they would need to succeed in their lives.