Monday, March 08, 2010

It's not easy being tall

This morning, as I dropped Jennifer off for school, she shared with me a problem she's been having with other children. Apparently, she has been getting a lot of teasing because she is tall. (This is one reason why I put her in basketball. Not because I'm living vicariously through her, as some family members have implied!) I was troubled that she's been teased about this but not surprised the kids at school have found something else to get at her with. If they're not teasing her because of how her mom looks then they're teasing her about how much food is in her lunch box.

I told her not to let this bother her. Just ignore it. Kids are ALWAYS going to find something to tease each other about and if she lets them know that this upsets her, they will only keep doing it.

She said that another girl in her class is taller than she is and she didn't understand why this girl was not being teased for being tall. I started to wonder if kids were teasing her about it because they KNOW she's sensitive. I once again told her that she should not let it bother her. The world is full of tall people but short people, too. And fat people and skinny people. If we were all the same height and had the same kind of figure, the world would be pretty boring.

"Besides," I added. "Some pretty famous people are tall. You should be proud of that."

I tried to race through my memory and come up with the name of famous tall people but all I could think of was Magic Johnson. (Me and my basketball fixation.)

I asked her if she had good friends in her class and she gave me three names. I said good, stick with those friends. Don't pay any mind to the kids teasing, because her friends will stand up for her and support her.

I also explained to her that even though she is tall, that's not what's important. The important thing is that she is a wonderful person. Her height should not define her; her personality and talents are more important. It's possible the kids tease her about her height because she is so smart. I started to wonder if those kids teasing her could read a book as fast as she can or do so well on their schoolwork as she does. Or draw some amazing art or shoot several baskets in a basketball game. And I'd also like to see those same kids write as good of a story as she can! "I for one think you're pretty spectacular," I said.

She smiled and it was like he weight of the world lifted off of her. "Thanks, Mom," she said.

What's interesting is that both of my kids are tall for their age. I am 5'7 1/2" and her dad is 5'8". Our children are tall, and both were born early. (I wonder if that's a connection??)

After I got home, I started to wonder what I could do to make Jennifer feel better about being tall. I could tell her things like "you'll never have to worry about seeing over someone's head in a crowd" and "you'll be able to reach for things that shorter people can't reach." But I wonder if there's something more I could do for her. Maybe find a book for her to read that would help her feel better about being tall. Or I could ask one of my siblings for input on this. Both of my brothers are tall, even taller than my dad, and I have nephews who are pretty tall, as well.

I did some checking on the Internet and came up with these links:

Famous tall people

Famous Tall Ladies

Tallest by profession

Hey! Our First Lady is a tall person! Jen is a supporter of Obama, so maybe if I told her that his wife is also tall, maybe she won't feel so bad.

As I often remind Jennifer, things could be worse. She thinks she is not normal because she's tall. I reminded her she is as normal as they come; her height has nothing to do with it. Things could be worse. She could be worse. She could have some kind of...mental problem. Or she could've been born with no arms or legs. Or five arms and three legs! Just because she's tall, it doesn't mean she's not normal. She is a perfectly normal kid! She's just tall. That's all.


Anonymous said...

Good advice mom! In elementary school the tallest kids usually end up very average sized by high school. I remember thinking my own kids were super tall until about 4th grade when everyone passed them up. Then for a while Caitlin was the shortest. I remember her best friend Briana towered over her until 8th grade and then she stopped growing and was 5'3" and Caitlin just kept growing till she was 5'8". Not that that is very tall, its very average. But her super tall friend is now much shorter than her. The thing that tells how tall girls will be is when they reach puberty, they wont grow much beyond that. Since Brianna matured faster than Caitlin, she is now shorter than her.

I am 5'7" and my hubby is 6'4". Caitlin is 5'8" (and done growing)which I dont find to be super tall though you'd think because my husband is so tall that she would be taller. Isabel is just slightly taller than Caitlin was at her age (10). Her doctor predicts that she will be just 1 or 2 inches taller than Caitlin, which would make her 5'9" or 5'10". To me that is pretty tall for a woman, but my husbands mother is nearly 6 foot.

There is no telling what makes kids tall. One of Caitlins best friends is 5'9" and her dad is only 5'8 and her mom is 5'4"!!!

Dawn Colclasure said...

Thanks, Nancy. That is so true; who knows what determines how tall someone will be! Thanks for reminding me about the growth thing.

Yesterday, I had to bring Jen home from school early. A boy tripped her at recess and she had a nasty fall. She got pretty hurt. I've discussed the teasing incidents with the teacher but I don't know if they're doing anything. I hate to think she's being targeted for some reason.

I just couldn't help but put our morning talk together with the tripping incident and worry that the two are connected.

If something isn't done or if it gets worse, I'll have to take action for her sake.

Anonymous said...

oh no! poor Jen! You must pump her up with ideas how to combat bullies, every kid has to deal with this at some point. What worked for my older daughter was to play act what she could do in certain situations. We did this with barbie dolls, puppets and just ourselves. It helped her not feel so "on the spot" when things happened. Also this might sound weird but when Caitlin was in 7th grade she was targeted by some mean girls in her science class. It seems as soon as the teacher would leave the class they would get up and circle the table and start saying mean things to this girl sitting at her table. When they didnt get a reaction out of her, they turned on my daughter. I did talk to the teacher and he agreed he would watch for this, but also I told Caitlin to stop thinking this would inevitably happen. To stop walking around worried that this would happen. I asked her "can you imagine the mean girls would like you?" She said NO.

So then I said, "can you imagine they would leave you alone" She could imagine this so I told her every single morning to repeat this all the way to school in the car. "the mean girls left me alone today" and keep saying this. I also put a poster on her ceiling that we made that said, "the mean girls leave me alone" and "I have alot of friends who help me!" (If you are religious you could put things like "Jesus is always with me" and "I am protected always by God"

Dawn I swear to you within 3 weeks she had an experience in class where she came home saying THE MEAN GIRLS WERE REALLY NICE TODAY AND IT WASNT FAKE. And they never bothered her again.

Well that is all the advice I have, LOL

OctobersDoll said...

Aww poor Jen! :( Sorry to hear that. Well the first thing to help the girl out is buy her a pair of pants that are not high water. Kids would not notice it so much if she wore pants that fit.

Jana B said...

You know, the thing I wished for most when I was a kid and being teased, was for someone to disagree with what the mean kids said... Jen has that, and in the end I know she'll be fine. Just listen when she talks, hold her when she cries, and then when it's done try to pump her self esteem up.

When I was a kid, I was told not to let it get to me, not to let them see me cry... but it kinda made things worse... to me that was just another bad thing about me - I was too sensitive, I couldn't ignore them. Of course, I came from a very jacked-up background, so she probably reacts differently... but that is something to watch for.

VERY awesome to hear that she likes Michelle Obama, so she knows there is another very awesome tall person! That was a great idea to research the tall adults, you go girl!!!!!

Dawn Colclasure said...

Nancy, that is SO COOL! I am going to try that. We (me, Jen and a recess monitor) actually confronted the kid today at the school. He kept saying it was an accident and that he was sorry.

Millie, I know. She's like that girl on Jimmy Neutron, she likes to see her ankles! LOL Usually, she wears the shorter pants for her play clothes, but she does have some school pants that are getting high up on the legs. I have a hard time finding her pants that fit right but I will keep an eye out for anything. She grows SOOO fast! I will look into fashion tricks for tall people.

Jana, thank you. I agree. She does have friends who got her back and as long as they are defending her and standing by her, it will help a lot. I was wondering if Michelle Obama has ever talked about this kinda thing with kids. It would definitely help kids a lot, especially if they admire her.

Anonymous said...

when I drop off Isabel at school, I always see kids in pants too short, too long, too baggy and too tight. Anyone with kids knows that there is no such thing as a perfect fit for kids, and if its fitting perfect, you better take a picture because in about ten minutes its going to be too small! Ha ha Dont worry. Isabel put on a pair of capris this weekend that fit perfect last they are bermuda shorts! If your daughters pants are becoming high water continually its just that she is growing taller and not fatter, which let me tell you is a good thing. If she can grow and still wear something, she's thin and a good weight so that is something to breathe easy about.