Slut. Ugly. Bitch. Wetback. Skinny. Fat. Stupid. Smartass. Arrogant.
What would they be called? What words would be used to insult my baby girls or make them feel “less than”?
Kids are mean; adults can be meaner.
PROBLEM: I needed to anticipate the hate, the bullying, the teasing, and the insecurity. No matter how often I tell my daughters that they are brilliant, beautiful leaders, someone would inevitably attempt to belittle them.
This is a reality of the world.
I learned that words have power because we give them that power. Otherwise, they are simply a random sequence of letters with as much power as the word hippopotamus.
This was the approach I took to prepare my little girls for the reality of the world.
My oldest daughter’s first name is Fe, which means Faith in Spanish. I anticipated someone would eventually flip her name and start to call her Fea, which means ugly in Spanish.
SOLUTION: So I playfully started to call her Fea when she was 3-4 years old.
I even grabbed the chorus of the song Hey Ya by Outkast to sing her name: FEEEEEEE-AAAAAA!
It was adorable to hear her sing along as a little girl and shake the invisible polaroid picture. I obviously told her what the word meant, and although we were playful about it, some would use it as a weapon.
Sure enough, it happened, and she dismissed it with no hesitation. But, of course, she still gets it now that she’s older, just like I had predicted.
Building strong self-esteem is only part of the solution. Ensuring my daughters know what to expect as they grow up has been an essential tool in my parenting fanny pack.
PRINCIPLE: Under no circumstances were they to give her power away to some fool who tries to make her feel small or inadequate, even if it’s family or friend.
By the way, I love hippos.