My 8 year old stepdaughter is obsessed by being and remaining popular. This includes wearing all the right clothes, seeing the right movies, hanging with the right crowds, etc. When did third grade become so competitive?
She mentioned she has to take lots of dance to become a cheerleader when she gets in Jr High and High School, as that will ensure her continued popularity. I'm at a loss here. I want her to be popular, as in 'liked'. I told her its important that other kids like her and that she value how others feel. But I told her its even more important for her to like herself.
"Because at the end of the day, you're alone with yourself. You cant rely on others to validate who you are. You have to find that inside."
"Oh." She pursed her cute lips together and thought about it. I think she gets it. I just cant believe how much pressure is on kids today at such a young age.
I know this is just the beginning. Soon, she'll be on FB and Instagram and Twitter and everything else. Her world view will enlarge. Will she be looking to get 'more likes' or will she be looking to expand her mind?
I guess only time will tell.
Someday, when she's older, I'll talk to her about integrity, about having the inside match the outside. I don't want her to 'package' herself. I want her to shine with her own unique identity and light.
But thats a conversation for another day. Perhaps another year.
The worlds a complicated place and no one has all the right answers. We're all just feeling our way through it.