No really, why did I teach my kids to be open and express their thoughts and feelings without embarrassment? I am regretting how well I did teach them and wished I would have thought that through a bit more.
Coming from a family with parents who had only 3 feelings, I surmised that this type of self-awareness of ones feelings and emotions could only be good for children. I taught my children to tell me how they feel, tell the doctors, the teachers and tell their friends how they feel and this will help them along in life.
I was doing just OK with this concept with the teenager when my youngest was born with ears that stuck out about 40%.
The psychological distress caused by prominent ears can be considerable. The main clinical significance of prominent ears is the aesthetic problems, which can lead to a reduced quality of life, reduced self-esteem, social avoidance behavior and poor performance in school. Teasing at school causes both short-term unhappiness and a potential long-term impact on perception of self-image and self-worth. Children and adults alike with ears that stick out may experience a damaged psyche secondary to outside ridicule and self-criticism.
So, knowing the day would come when she would want to have her ears fixed, I taught my little girl with ears that stuck out that she had beautiful elf ears. She became so confident in the fact that she had special elf ears that even the boys who teased her in elementary school could not rattle her. “I don’t have Dumbo ears, I have elf ears!” she would say and then leaving no opportunity for discussion dismiss anything else they tried to say to her. I was very proud of her confidence.
Now fast forward ten years. The oldest is in her 30’s and youngest in her 20’s. So now when I ask my daughters, either of them, how this event or that weekend was I may often wish I hadn’t asked in the first place. I have to listen carefully and consider the response. There may be parts of the response where I have to cover my ears and say “Stop! Stop! No don’t tell me” or “No don’t send me a picture, NOOO!!!!!”
You are probably wondering how I could possibly have any regrets about the success of teaching my children to express their feelings? TMI as they say. Some things just can’t be unsaid.