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Challenge: I Feel Bad About...

I feel bad about not knowing how to show support to my daughter as she strugged withweight issues

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Parenting is the hardest thing in the world. It doesn't come with a manual. And alot of times, we take our own experiences and insecurities as kids, and unknowingly pass it down to our kids.

My daughter, Alison, who is about to turn 19 years old, was recently a guest on a podcast that talked about weight issues. As I listened to her talk about her insecurities and challenges as a teenager with her weight issues, all I could think of was "I could, woulda, shoulda."

What comes to mind is a moment when she was in middle school and we were shopping for school clothes for the new school year. We were in the dressing room together and none of the jeans would fit her. She broke down and cried and simply said, "I don't want to try on clothes anymore." Instead of giving words of comfort or encouragement, we simply left the store and never talked about it again. In that moment of discomfort, I said nothing. I did nothing. We never really talked about it again until she was a senior in high school and she took a pyschology class where students had to talk about their insecurities. She told me that she told that story. It was only then that I got to apologize to her, after nearly six years of silence about that topic.

I realized that it's because my mother also never really gave me any words of support about my insecurities, which was my height. I'm 4'11" and being this short really affected my own self esteem. I knew my mom loved me but she didn't have the language to help me through my own insecurities, as I'm sure neither did her mom.

It was just recently that she explained why she never really liked going shopping. She hated trying clothes on in the dressing room because of that moment. I may be forever apologizing to Alison about this one shortcoming, along with many others I've had while both my kids were growing up. But today, I try to encourage her the best I can. Telling her every moment I can, that I support her and am proud of her for the responsbile life decisions she continues to make everyday.

I feel bad for not being the supportinve and encouraging mom I should've been during those tween and teen years. But I hope I have a whole lifetime to make up for it. And if I get it right, I know the cycle of negativity will stop with her. All it's going to take is alot of conversation and alot of positive reinforcement that she is enough. We all are.

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