A little while ago I wrote a post from my heart about how I want my daughter to love her natural beauty. How I want all our daughters to love their beauty and never succumb to the pressures of the false images on social media. It upsets me when I hear about little girls wishing they were different, that they’re too small, too big, their hair isn’t straight enough, they’re eyes aren’t blue enough. Sometimes it’s unavoidable, but it’s still a sad thing to hear.
After writing that post I received a lot of positive comments, mums that understood where I was coming from. Mums that went through insecurities themselves, who felt they weren’t good enough and are now seeing their daughters feel similar. It touched a lot of parents, which touched me. One thing that I did notice in a few comments were mothers talking about their sons. Their sons were almost reaching the teen years and they’re already having a tough time accepting themselves as the perfect little boys that they are. One mum joked about how her son spends plenty of time smothering his hair in all kinds of waxes before he leaves the house.
It’s very apparent that boys and men today are a lot more in tune with their appearance. This isn’t a bad thing, it’s good that they take care of themselves, keep themselves looking smart. Lets face it, we love when our men make an effort don’t we?
I’m right behind this new era of metrosexual men, I think it’s great. David Beckham for example. Anyone named Justin…
The one problem is the filtration into our children. Our boys in primary school, into secondary school worrying they’re not good enough. Faffing with their hairstyles because they want it to be just like the latest celeb craze. Remember when we saw mini Joey Essexs’ everywhere we went? I remember thinking it looked silly, I used to chuckle actually, but one day that could be my son leaving school with a slick bouffant above his head.
I want my son to feel great about the gorgeous boy that he is, I want all of our sons to feel confident in the skin they’re in, owning the person they are. I want them to grow up into smart, kind young men who don’t give in to the pressure of their peers.
The reality is that he probably will come into a few tricky situations where he makes a poor decision. An awful haircut, doing something silly to impress the other people in his friendship group, worrying about his physique and perhaps going to extremes to alter it. I hope deep down in my heart that he glides through life without any worry and with all the confidence he can muster. Although I think this won’t be the case for many of our boys.
I’ve been wanting to type this post now for quite some time, but you know how things get pushed to the side when you have other little projects and children to be getting on with. So I’m pleased to be typing this now, I’m also glad I had that time to dwell on this post. It made me really think about what I wanted to share and how this topic made me feel.
Having had the time to think about the social pressures of our boys growing up, I’ve realized that it’s a lot more common than I once thought. Again, social media plays a huge part in this. It’s a domino effect of showing someones version of the ideal man to one person, then the next and so on. It always leaves a lasting impression, especially on young impressionable kiddies.
Our children are so precious to us and the thought of them wanting to alter themselves, their wonderful, natural selves is heartbreaking. The only people I ever want them to try and impress are myself and Mr Firstooth, I also hope they’ll strive to do themselves proud as that’s good enough for us. I’m sure at some point in the future, way into the future our boys will want to impress a potential partner. Maybe that’s when the self-consciousness begins?
Originally it was at the forefront of my mind about our daughter and the social pressures surrounding girls growing up. Now I’m also equally concerned about our son. There is only so much we can do as parents to shield him from the false photos on social media, the vanity and pressures that spreads throughout friendship groups, a lot of this he is going to have to decipher for himself, with gentle guidance from us.
What we can do is raise him with love, discipline and raise him to feel confident to be who he is. I want him to grow into a driven, thoughtful and kind gentleman, not just a man. I don’t want him to worry about what others are doing, what they’re wearing and whether he lives up to the expectations of society, because to be frank, it’s all rubbish. Societies expectations shouldn’t be about vanity, it should be about heart. I don’t want to seem hypocritical because I like to look and feel my best, we all do, that’s different from vanity and self consciousness, because we do it for ourselves, not for our peers.
We will do what we can to guide him in this direction and we will always be there for him as his safety and comfort. No doubt mistakes will be made, but they’re there to learn and grow from. It’s certainly a worry to let the reins loose on my sweet little boy, that at some point he will experience feelings of insecurity. All we can do is instill a strength in him to look beyond appearance and being ‘cool’ and focus on what’s important. We can lead by example and try not to mention our own insecurities in front of either of our children throughout their impressionable years. We can lend an ear and a squishy cuddle whenever they want to discuss these things.
The internet is a powerful thing, so is the society we live in, it can chip terribly at insecurities and make us believe things which aren’t natural to us. If only we could protect our sweet children from what lies ahead. Instead we will prepare them for it and hide our crossed fingers behind our back as they figure things out themselves.
Our son will experience pressures just like our daughter. As long as we raise them to be strong and confident young men, with a little humility, they’ll be just fine.