Why is Your Face Flat? Building an Inner Voice…

Over the past few months, my twins, H and H, have become more mobile, more vocal, and absolutely more expressive. They now have tones to their squeals when something is wrong, and also when something is right. For the better part of each day, they are so, so happy. Their laughter fills their playroom and their little smiles surface so easily. As a new parent, I am in awe of their innocence, but also aware that they will inevitably be hurt. This last part is something that has crossed my mind many times. How will I handle things like bullying, heartbreak, defeat, and so on? How can I help them grow a positive inner voice? (This post may contain affiliate links, which help to keep this site running!)

As a minority, I feel that it’s almost a guarantee that H and H will at some point run into a kid who comments about their race. For those who don’t know, I’m Korean and my husband is Caucasian. When I was younger, I experienced situations where kids asked me numerous odd questions and made rude comments. A few real life examples include:

-Why is your face flat?

-Did you get dropped on your face?

-Why don’t you look like your mom? (I’m adopted!)

-Is there something wrong with your eyes?

-Are you going to get your eyelids fixed?

-I thought Asians were supposed to be smart.

…and my personal favorite:

-Why would someone pay for a baby? Wouldn’t they rather have their own?

Hurtful right? Astonishingly enough, I didn’t fight back, argue, or even answer most of the time. To be honest, I usually sat in silence, brushed it off, and went about my day. Looking back, I don’t credit myself for having the strength to not aggressively react (because I do believe that in some instances, the stronger person is the silent one), I credit the influence of my family.

I was fortunate enough to have parents who instilled an inner voice in me that was so strong, confident, and encouraging, that it quelled any of the small, negative voices around me. Without that strong voice, I don’t think I would’ve handled things quite so well and would have felt a lot more pain. I’m not saying that they blew sunshine up my rear, or praised me for just any small accomplishment. However, I was confident enough to know that what some people said didn’t matter, or affect my value as a human being. A lot of this was because I felt loved, and I believe that if we feel genuinely loved, we can let much else fall to the wayside.

 

While I hope that my kids don’t face any remarks concerning their unique appearances, I know that that’s a long shot. The thought breaks my heart. I’m not in control of what other kids will say, or what their parents teach them. I can only hope to influence how H and H react. I’m going to do my best give them a positive inner voice, much like the one my mom and dad gave me. A voice that they can rely on, and one that pushes them toward bravery, kindness, and compassion. How will I do that? So far, I just know that I will make them feel every ounce of love that I can, and teach them to be their own guiding lights. Will it work? I can only hope so. Until then, I want them to enjoy each moment of their tiny baby lives, worrying about nothing but their toys, snacks, and each other.

As always, feel free to comment! Do you have tricks toward building a positive inner voice for your little ones? Maybe you’ve had an experience you’d like to share, or just something to add. Feel free to leave whatever you’d like below!

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38 thoughts on “Why is Your Face Flat? Building an Inner Voice…

  1. This is great … I know with the parents they have they will be strong and happy boys ! I personally think your parents did a great job in raising you !

  2. Gosh. It’s so hard to help them be positive and have a strong inner voice. We are working on that with our 10 year old. And she’s a girl. Ugh. It’s every day!!!! I need all the help I can get. 🙂

  3. Leighann,

    Your parents did a wonderful job, and I am certain that you are a wonderful Mom as well. I am way beyond this stage, but I love reading your blogs! <3

  4. I don’t know how much of this works. I am a new mom myself. I think lot of it will come from you openly sharing your experiences with them and telling them how you handled it and they are not alone in this and you can understand that it is upsetting.

    • Hi Uthra, I’m not sure what you’re referring to, but what you said is basically what I plan on doing! To me, that is part of showing love😊

  5. Ugh. I try to teach my kids that what others say doesn’t matter. It’s hard. I try not to intervene too much to help them learn how to deal with uncomfortable situations themselves. But, that can be too painful as a mama bear who wants to step in and rip other kids to shreds. Who knows what the right way is, all I know is being a mom is filled with constant heartache sometimes!

    • I can see it coming! I feel like they’re going to break my heart over and over, just by growing up😳

  6. I also fear the day someone hurts my little girl. It’s nice to know that you feel your upbringing helped you through the bullying, that in itself is encouraging and a reminder to keep instilling the important values.

    • I think it’s a fear that all of us have, and I don’t know if there’s a way to prepare ourselves for it!

  7. This is a phenomenal post. Thank you for sharing. I work with kids in a school setting and we talk a lot about many different types of diversity. There are so many beautiful picture books that introduce differences in a wonderful way. When your little ones are older, they are worth exploring. The cover so many different social issues from gender stereotypes to race to religion. I’m always happy to offer recommendations!

    • Thank you! Recommendations would be great! I’m pretty out of the loop when it comes to children’s books!

  8. I have these exact same fears for my son. My husband and I are interracial and it never crossedy mind how it would affect my child until I had a child! I worry about how other children will treat him. You right about the fact that how he handles it is all dependent on how my husband and I raise him and the confidence we instill in him. Doesn’t mean the mean kids won’t happen but it means we will be able to walk through it together. Great post!!!

    • Thank you! Your family is beautiful, btw! It’s pretty unfortunate that mean kids will always be around, but I’m sure you guys will do a great job with your little guy! I didn’t think about it either, until having kids. Honestly, I don’t ever feel like I’m in an interracial relationship, I just feel love!

  9. This was a really beautiful post- I can see your inner voice shine just by reading your words. You have a gorgeous family- I can tell you are one fabulous mama! Keep it up! XO

  10. When kids are little, they often have much less of a social filter that will prevent them from asking questions like this. The good thing when they are little like this, they are often genuine questions. They don’t think negatively of the differences in strangers or their friends, they are genuinely interested in what makes them different and will simply ask.

    As they grow, unfortunately, kids can be mean. Whether their motives are racially charged or not, kids who bully can pick out any feature that makes another child different. Often times this may be because they don’t feel like they fit in or feel that they have to put others down to try to feel like they fit in.

    I think in either case, in addition to helping your children develop a strong sense of worth as you mention, another great tool to help them navigate these questions is to equip them to answer them. What is an appropriate answer for them to give when they are asked, “Why is your face flat”? Can it be an opportunity to share some highlights of ancestry? If they are facing the question from a bully, what are some ways to respond, or perhaps to avoid responding?

    Thank you for this post.

    • Thank you, and thank you for responding! I agree with all of this! When kids are young, they often don’t mean any harm, and I’m not even so sure that the recipient of the question feels any harm at such a young age. It’s the unfortunate situation of older kids who know better that saddens me a bit. From my experience, when the question comes from a high school or middle school aged kid, it’s usually to be “cool” or to be offensive. Hopefully my kids will be equipped to handle those situations!

  11. As a former 5th grade teacher, kids are mean. Sadly, no matter what your child looks like kids find something to poke fun at. All part of growing up I guess. So just reminding them at home that they are loved and can do anything they put their mind to can help!

  12. What a wonderful mama you are! Instilling the inner voice is one of our biggest jobs as parents. A KIND inner voice is so important, and teaching them bravery, kindness, and compassion is truly the best gift you can give them. P.S. Your babes are beautiful!!

    • Thank you so much! I don’t know about wonderful, but I’m trying, haha! And thank you for the compliment on my little guys:)

  13. Leighann that is a beautiful post but the truth behind the post is something that makes me very sad. Your mom and I do not see you or your brother as Korean; you both were gifts that we will forever be grateful. Your mom had a wonderful idea, not for one moment did either of us hesitate on the journey thru adoption. The plain truth is we never think that either of you are adopted.
    Some don’t realize what they say; some learn prejudice from their parents, some from friends. God created everyone equal some just don’t have the education to know it. The world is upside down these days, we can only hope that united we can educate others to realize the importance of family. Blogs like yours bring light to issues of importance.
    We (you, Scott and I) are very fortunate that your mother was a stay at home mom. Your core family values much like Mom’s are implanted thru leading by example. This will teach Hudson & Hunter to shine through difficult situations. When a child has the knowledge of knowing they don’t want to disappoint a parent, sibling, or even a grandparent…. family values are clearly evident. We all run astray and so will the boys but those values will bring them back around to the correct path.
    Proud doesn’t describe how we feel about you & Scott. You never let us down, and you always ate your vegetables 🙂

    • Thank you! Funny you should say that about adults! Just yesterday, an adult was just as bad to one of my close friends, and it was on FB…a public platform, where my friend felt that she couldn’t fight back. So sad!

  14. Sometimes you just have to keep a good sense of humor and carry on. I have a friend who can check every “race” box except Native American. (She looks Polynesian to me.) She married a caucasian. Her kids are very dark complected. She filled out a form for her son and they would only allow her to check one box. She asked what to check and they said the one that the child was the most. Her kids are 50% caucasian, so she put caucasian. When she got to the appointment, she waited over an hour and finally asked if they were going to be seen. She gave them the name and they had skipped her because they did not see any “caucasian” kids waiting. She is able to laugh about her experiences, like when her husband is out with the kids and people want to know where he adopted them from, but I know it is annoying. Hopefully times are changing….

    • Haha great story! Oh, as an adult, in the first to admit that I find the Asian stereotypes pretty funny and most of them are said with a light heart. Friends and I joke about it even, but when I think about kids being hurtful to my little ones, it’s a bit sad!

  15. Fantastic Read. Kids can be so hurtful and sometimes they don’t even know it. I wish I had the secret to helping kids through this but what I have to keep reminding myself is they are going to be okay. Just love them and be there when they need to talk. Also, I’ve learned not to make a bigger deal out of it than it has to be. I use to get myself all worked up. Kids seem to work through it somehow.

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