Look To the Western Sky

A blog about single life as a parent & the dreams of a writer by Margo L. Dill

Raising a Tall Daughter

I titled this post raising a TALL daughter, instead of just raising a daughter, because all of us raising a daughter know some characteristic people  bring attention to, possibly unaware they are doing this, that makes our daughters self-conscious. For my daughter, it’s being tall. Maybe your daughter is short. Maybe she is super smart. Maybe she talks fast. These are all characteristics that people consider okay to comment on.

We also know bullies like to draw attention to personal traits in a negative way, such as being overweight, wearing glasses, or not knowing the answers in class. We think this is horrible, and we fight the good fight against these kind of comments, whether in person, in writing, or online. But do we realize, as adults, that we are constantly bombarding  our kids with messages about their body or their intelligence? And this is not always raising their self-esteem. For my daughter, it’s being tall. Let me tell you what inspired this post.

Katie started cheerleading (she is 6). The wonderfully nice coach said, “I’m going to line you guys up by height, so we can figure out a good formation for our dance.” She told everyone to get in line, and I immediately saw Katie slouch down as much as possible, so she wouldn’t be the tallest one. The next words that came out of the mouth of the short, innocent girl next to her were: “Well, she (pointing at Katie) is the tallest one.”  I had to step in.

I said, “Katie, stand up straight. It’s awesome to be the tallest one. Mommy is always the tallest one.” The coach then chimed in with similar praises, and Katie smiled and stood up straight.

I probably don’t need to go on and on about this story for you to see why it bothered me. But…I am a writer, so I will say this: Before anyone even said she was the tallest one, she knew it was going to be her and she didn’t want it to be her. She is only 6! I remember feeling the same way when I was young.

Is part of that because we innately want to be the same as everyone else? Probably. But a large part of her slouching is because so many people, young and old, are constantly telling her how tall she is and how much older she looks and sounds.

Because I have this blog, I can say: Please stop.

You can only control you, as I said in my last post, but you can stop talking about how short or tall some child is and asking your family to do the same.

fall_dill_007Look, I am as guilty as the next person for drawing attention to my daughter’s height.  My way of coping with this, my wrong way, is to say: “I know. She is really tall,” before the person gets a chance to say it. And I know what several of you reading this are thinking: I wish I was tall. Being tall is great.

And you’re right, it is. But it took me 19-20 years to think this; and sometimes, on bad days, I still don’t think so. She and I can’t control this. We can’t go on a diet to get shorter. We can’t read a book to get shorter. We can’t practice to get shorter.

We are tall. We need to be proud of it. But we don’t need to be constantly reminded of it. 

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9 Comments

  1. Well said, Margo. The sad thing is, most of us allow the little voice in our own heads to focus on the things we wish we could change about ourselves, instead of the good stuff. Kudos to you for helping Katie see the positives…something all of us need to do a better job of practicing.

    • luvboxerdogs

      December 2, 2016 at 4:11 pm

      I thought about that. How we all have something we wish we could change that most people don’t even notice!

  2. Margo, I always thought your height was one of your best points. You stood tall and proud. I just loved watching you. If you wish, you can tell your daughter you know someone whose granddaughter is way taller than Mommy. I have a granddaughter who is just over 6’4″, and yes, she played basketball.That’s the way she worked her way through college. She would never think of slouching.

  3. With that said, may I comment on the picture of you and your daughter? You two are just beautiful. I think she is going to grow up to be just as pretty as you.

  4. I think as adults, it’s easy to forget how much we hated to stand out at that age. Adults know those things are the very things that make us unique, but children don’t realize that. They just want to fit in. I was always on the short end of my classmates and it seemed like it was easier to fit in at that. But now I’m constantly wishing I was taller!

  5. For years, my son slouched and only wore shoes with thin soles so as not to make himself taller. Strangers would ask him if he played basketball (he didn’t). Two things helped him feel less self conscious: spending time in major cities where there tends to be more tall people (he lives in NYC today), and playing double bass, which is almost as tall as his 6’5″ frame.

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