As adults, we’ve probably learned the hard way that not everyone in this world is going to like us. It’s a tough realization that could hurt. And for those who weren’t taught differently, they often internalize other people’s thoughts and their self-worth and confidence plummets. So, do we save our children from that same hurt by sharing with them that in this life not everyone is going to like them? Or do we let them figure it out the hard way like we did? If we do try and prepare them for this truth, what age should we do it?
Each case is different. Each child is different. But I do think that in order to combat the lack of self-confidence that can result from the tough realization you’re not liked, it’s important to have that conversation with your child early. Teach them that their self-worth isn’t linked to the shit people think about them.
Towards the end of last year, I went to pick up my three-year-old daughter from a tutoring session. She is so eager to start school and showed signs of being ready to learn more than I was teaching her at home, so we did one session a week to stimulate her mind and help her grow. On this particular day, after she got into the car, her tutor said to me, “I just want you to know that there will be some people who are jealous of Ariella. Even some adults will be intimidated by her…”
I see her tutor as a mentor to my daughter and I know she meant well and was just preparing me. Ariella is a very endearing child, smart and wise beyond her years—this will not be accepted by everyone. Regardless of what I knew, this was an unexpected conversation that I reflected on almost every single day after that.