Psychologist & Author Shefali Tsabary, PhD, explains how parents still attached to their own inadequacy around looks and appearance can attribute to their child’s bullying situation.
So, practical example where we inadvertently parent unconsciously would be – a typical example is young girls often come to their parents. There was this one 8 year old girl who came and said; you know, Mommy I’m being bullied because all the kids are making fun of me I’m too fat. I’m over weight. Now, the mother is in the state of laugh. I always come from that assumption but the mother not realizing that she herself is so anxious and is still attached to her own inadequacy around looks, around appearance. She, this mother in particular immediately responded to the child from that sense of anxiety. What did she do? She immediately said to the child, you know what don’t worry sweetheart I understand that you’re in pain because they’re calling you fat. I will hire you the best nutritionist, I will get you a thread mill, I will get you a gym membership and we’re going to fix your problem then you’re going to feel so much better. But she went down the wrong path, because she herself was unearthed, ungrounded in her own being. She herself was consumed by looks and her own sense of being good enough and fitting in that she immediately responded to her child’s anxiety and she was triggered and didn’t realize. So when I then showed her a different way to respond, she then understood what it meant to respond consciously which is go this other way, go into essence, understand that now you’re being triggered because you yourself have issues with looks. Don’t go down that road because that’s not what your child needs to grow up into because soon plastic surgery, boob jobs, face lifts is the trajectory and we don’t want to go down that path. We want to teach our children in this moment when the child is crying and saying everyone is calling me fat. In this moment, is your opportunity to enter essence and teach your child to detached, to step away from the superficial means of validation and enter to a deeper sense of connectivity. This is the opportunity for the parent to grow and see this is my stuff that I am projecting onto my child and for the child to enter a new way of being.