Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Vanity Sizing

Mirror, mirror on the wall, who’s the greatest Mom of all?!

Every Mom wishes to be the best to their children. On the other hand, do children also wish to be the best kids to their Moms?

The generation x kids are in various quandary nowadays. There’s what they call “high maintenance kids,” “the entitled kids” and the kids who are victims of “vanity sizing.”

Vanity sizing is defined by one book author as “trying to make everyone work behind the scenes to make us feel good about ourselves.”

Honestly, our kids need great Moms to prevent their children from falling into such impasse.

Based from the book that I read, vanity sizing is exemplified this way: One mother was in hurry shopping for clothes. She has tried several sizes but nothing fits her well. While paying to the cashier, she asked about the odd sizing. The cashier explained, “that’s our ‘vanity sizing.’”

Indeed, vanity sizing has migrated from the dressing room to the classroom to the home. Even my own kids are being “vanity sized”, of which I only realized it when I was through reading said book on parenting. My son Kevin is one typical example. He performs in school a little weaker than his big sister and his kid brother. At home, we simply avoid the truth by trying to give him praises for little achievements which when compared to his siblings, are mediocre ones.

If he excels in competitions which rarely happen, we are all praises to him. As if he is the center of our world at home. We give him rewards; we praise him so much believing that this will develop his elf-esteem. If this how we treat our Kevin, will it result to positive things to him as a person?

To quote Dr. Guthrie in her book, “The Trouble with Perfect”, “Vanity sizing in and of itself is not terrible. It’s a simple ploy, a mild trick to fool people into feeling good.”

“It’s like calibrating the bathroom scale at a bit under zero, or setting our watches a few minutes fast so we’re always “early.” But it’s a good example of the kind of parenting technique that ultimately backfires and encourages attitudes like “entitlement” that render our children high maintenance. These are children who expect the world to come to them; who feel that they deserve the best, who believe that they are “entitled” to the best life has to offer. They often have difficulty making good moral choices and empathizing with others. Vanity sizing doesn’t cause high maintenance; it’s only one factor common to parenting today that encourages this trend. And it seems to encapsulate mistaken notions of what children want and need from their parents.”

Vanity sizing our children is quite unfair to them. Why can’t we praise them for the real thing? Why can’t we recognize them for the real achievement?

This attitude and practice of praising a child not for the real thing is quite dangerous. I have observed one little boy, about the age of three who’s constantly vanity-sized by his parents. The result? We found in the behavior of that little boy as he grows older, the signs that he has an AD/HD problem. When he’s not given constant attention, he shouts and utters bad words to get attention. He cries on end without any valid reason. He keeps on talking about non-sense things. His sight of him becomes irritating to other people because of such display of behavior. At a young age, he knows how to utter threats like “I will kill you”, “I’ll cause a grenade to blast you to pieces”, “I’ll fire my gun in your face”, and other foul words you wouldn’t expect a little boy like him could utter.

Vanity sizing our kids at a young age will not help them grow and mature emotionally the natural way. Instead, they will develop an attitude which craves for unrelenting praises and adulation. We’re not helping them that way. In a capsule, “we’re crowding out the well-rounded development of our children.”

Let us veer away from the trap of vanity sizing. Let us be great Moms to our kids the natural way and we’ll surely produce great kids, too.

1 comment:

  1. Indeed,..I learned a lot from you Amity,..you teach me how to avoid vanity sizing towards my kids..especially my little one..thanks for this info.