We all want to change something about our appearance. Sometimes that's healthy, sometimes it's not so healthy. Read what our Mentors and experts have to say in response to kids' questions about this subject.
Advice Questions about How You Look:
- "I don't really have the best fashion sense in the world and I guess you're probably going to say that I should just be myself and people should like me for who I am. But, being a teenager (or pre-teen in my case) isn't about being out there, it's about fitting in. I see my friends wearing good clothes, and mine are OK. It's not that I want to be like them, I just want be in the same fashion zone. Any advice?"
- "I am really tall for my age, And I mean REALLY TALL. Almost everyone I know is shorter than me and can do everything better. And because I am tall, I weigh more than others, It makes me feel fat too, because I couldn't jump on a trampoline with a friend because the max weight is 300 lbs.! I’m 130! Can you help me?"
- "I have a "beauty mark" (as my parents call it) on my right cheek, and some people say I look beautiful, but I'm starting to doubt it's true. I know that it's what counts on the inside, not the outside, but sometimes people who are too judgmental make fun of me and call me "moley" or "mole face" and it really hurts my feelings. Sometimes I even come home crying. In 6th grade, even a 5th grader made fun of me! How do I just brush it off?"
- "I hate wearing shorts and tanks because I'm hairy all over and my mom and dad won't let me shave. I am 13 and everyone else is doing it. I feel very ugly. How should I go about this?"
- "I think my thighs are huge. I'm pretty, have a lot of friends, a boyfriend, and a lot of people like me. I'm a size 4 or 5 in jeans, and I want to be a size 2 again. When I go swimming, I always wear board shorts. I exercise, but only in gym, and I have that twice every day! What can I do to be smaller?"
- "I'm sort of hesitant about wearing makeup. I used to think makeup was totally stupid and fake looking, but now I think that if applied sparingly I could maybe improve my appearance. However, I don't want to overdo it. How much makeup can girls my age wear to school without looking like they're trying to be provocative? Sometimes girls get gossiped about because they wear too much all the time, and they also look a bit silly. Also, people sometimes wear makeup because they're insecure. I'm not insecure, and I don't want people to think that I'm uncomfortable in my shoes. I adamantly dislike eyeliner and mascara, but I sort of like eye shadow and lipstick. Can you give me any advice about how much to wear?"
- "I'm really skinny. I mean REALLY! My parents call me 'ottery', and ifyou've ever seen an otter, than you can probably imagine how skinny I am. But the bad thing is, my friends are larger than I am! I think when I wear tight shirts and jeans it makes them feel fat. I like wearing tight clothes, but I don't want to insult them (as in make them feel fat). What should I do?"
- "I have the biggest nose in the whole world! It's all fat and big! I don't know what to do! See, I used to have a lot of problems. For example, I used to be fat, so to fix it I started doing exercise, I used to be weak and couldn't defend myself, so to fix it I got into karate. I used to be short and I got really tall. Everybody says that I'm pretty and the most perfect girl but now I have problem I can't fix. What should I do? At what age can I get a nose job?"
- "I have been called ‘short’ since first grade. Now I’m in 5th grade, and I look like I'm in kindergarten! My 6-year-old cousin is as tall as me! What do I do?"
- "Okay, I am kind of gothic, and wear the whole black clothes thing and hot pink bracelets. I think it’s killing my chances of being asked out by guys, and that is a drag. I mean, all the people I know are dating and I hate feeling left out. What do I do?"
- "I'm very big-chested for my age. A ‘C’ actually. My friends always give me positive comments about my bust, but I'm not so sure if having them that big is a good thing because I feel I'm not ‘one of them.’ What should I do or how should I feel?"
- "I don't think I'm very pretty. There are all these girls at school who have awesome hair that's curly, or is done really neat, while I have red hair that's extra long and is always in a braid. There are also girls who wear make-up and nail polish, when my parents say I can't, but I don't know why. Pretty much everyone I know has that stuff. Could you help me?"
- "I know this is pretty odd to talk about to a person that you don't really know. I don't have anything on the 2 upper parts, if you know what I mean, and I am always embarrassed! Just today, I tried to look for a bathing suit
in the Juniors department, but none of them fit me. In the little girls section, they are too babyish!!! What should I do?"
- "I have a party coming up and we are going to be swimming, but I don't want to take part in it because I think I'm fat. All my friends are going to be there and I like swimming, but people make fun of my weight. What should
- "I have a sports day coming up, but I really don't want to take part. I think I'm fat because I have stretch marks on my legs. What should I do?"
- "My dad doesn't want me to shave [my legs], but my mom will let me if I'm up to it. What should I do?"
I am really tall for my age, And I mean REALLY TALL. Almost everyone I know is shorter than me and can do everything better. And because I am tall, I weigh more than others, It makes me feel fat too, because I couldn't jump on a trampoline with a friend because the max weight is 300 lbs.! I’m 130! Can you help me?
Well, I can't help you lose the height -- I'm afraid you're stuck with it now -- but I can tell you that it's not such a bad thing. Also, 130 pounds is NOT HEAVY. A lot of girls who are about 5' 4" and taller would kill to be 130 pounds, so you definitely don't have to be self-conscious about that. I'm a little surprised that you and your friend exceeded a 300-pound weight limit, since myself and the three kids I babysit can all fit on their trampoline and I weigh as much as you do. Are you sure you two calculated it right? It's important not to let your self-confidence fall because of your height. There's a lot more you can do when it comes to sports that are probably better than the average-sized kids -- things like basketball and long jump. On top of that, most girls wish they were a lot taller than they actually are, so you may actually be the envy of some of your peers!
--Sarah, IML Mentor
I how how you feel. I reached 100 before everyone else in my class too. The height does add weight and doctors will back me up on it. It doesn't mean you're fat. You can't control how tall you are. Just stay active, have confidence in yourself, and don't worry. Being tall does have its advantages and you're 11 so in all likelihood, it will even out eventually. I always was the tallest in my class and now in my freshman year in high school a lot of the other kids ended up being taller than me!
--CinKay, IML Mentor
No one can help how tall or short they are. If you're concerned that you'll eventually grow into the Jolly Green Giant, have no fear! Everyone stops growing at a certain point. Perhaps you've hit your growth spurt a bit earlier than others, which is why everyone else is shorter than you, or maybe you'll just always be taller than the other girls. Either way, try to embrace your size and love it no matter what! 130 pounds is nothing to be ashamed of. I doubt that you're overweight, but if you feel "fat," then I suggest you eat healthily and engage in some regular physical activity. At your age, you shouldn't be dieting without a doctor's recommendation and guidance. Hope I helped!
--Angelie, IML Mentor
I have a "beauty mark" (as my parents call it) on my right cheek, and some people say I look beautiful, but I'm starting to doubt it's true. I know that it's what counts on the inside, not the outside, but sometimes people who are too judgmental make fun of me and call me "moley" or "mole face" and it really hurts my feelings. Sometimes I even come home crying. In 6th grade, even a 5th grader made fun of me! How do I just brush it off?
I doubt there is anyone in this world who has ever felt completely, flawlessly beautiful for his or her whole entire life. Every person has been teased or judged before, whether he or she knows it or not. Maybe it was an insecurity that caused those persons to call you "moley" and "mole face" -- but that is still no reason for them to harass you! If this gets any worse, you could probably confide in a teacher, but in this case, this shouldn't be your first move. True, they shouldn't be teasing you, but the only way those people can drive you crazy is if you give them the keys. Look at yourself in the mirror. Confront your outer appearance, and, while staring at your reflection, ask yourself: "Am I beautiful on the outside?" Honestly answer yourself, but there's a catch. Say the parts about yourself that you're not so thrilled with, like your beauty mark, and then say the parts about your appearance that you're blessed that you have. Maybe you can say, "I'm thankful that I have good posture" or maybe "I'm glad that my hair is silky." Then close your eyes, and look deep within yourself, and say the things about your personality, your inner you, that you're glad are yours. You can say to yourself the talents you have, or maybe the subjects you're best in. Which would you rather hear? Would you rather be known for kindness, for your talents, for your accomplishments, or would you rather be known for outer beauty? I can't say that there's a way for you to completely brush people's mean comments to the side. But eventually, you'll know your priorities, and you'll learn to fully accept yourself as you are and be happy. Until that day comes, don't let those harassing words scar you. They can only hurt you if you let them, so don't leave yourself defenseless. You decide when it ends, so you can say to them, "Look, thanks for giving me your opinion on my appearance, but I don't need it. I'd like you to stop, please." Ignore them as best you can until you can accept that your beauty mark really is beautiful! :)
--Angelie, IML Mentor
We all have something that is different about us and of course that's the thing people make fun of. The chances are the kids who are teasing you are insecure about themselves so they decide to pick on someone else. After a while, I know it can get annoying and it is hard to brush it off. The best thing you can do is tell your parents, a teacher, or an adult you can trust about it. I've been made fun of for weight issues since 4th grade and adults really are the best people to tell. They will help you in some way, shape, or form. Another small yet big thing is to have confidence in yourself. If you don't present yourself with confidence that will just bring more people to make fun of you. Having confidence in yourself will show people that they can't bring you down and they won't bother you as much because they won't feel powerful anymore. Good luck and be confident!
--CinKay, IML Mentor
There's a quote that I like: 'Beauty comes as much from the mind as from the eye". It's by Grey Livingston, and it means that things can be beautiful or not depending on the way you see them. A kid in 5th grade might think that a birthmark is strange, while to other people it may seem beautiful. The kids who make fun of you might tease you because they can never be unique the way you are! If you keep a good attitude about it, or not show that it bothers you, they will stop. Stay positive, and always remember that everyone is beautiful!
--Nikola, IML Mentor
I hate wearing shorts and tanks because I'm hairy all over and my mom and dad won't let me shave. I am 13 and everyone else is doing it. I feel very ugly. How should I go about this?
The easiest thing to do is just talk to your parents one on one. Get them together when they both aren't busy (but I really don't recommend having serious conversations like this at dinner) and talk to them about it. Ask your mom when she started shaving and ask when she wanted to start shaving. Usually parents forget what they wanted when they were teens so getting them to really think about it will usually help you out a little. Then tell them why you think you should be able to take on this responsibility and tell them why you should be able to shave. Hope for the best and if they say no, try not to complain. Just say something like, "Okay. I understand what you're saying and thank you for thinking about it," and say it in a mature way. Good luck!
--CinKay, IML Mentor
Have you actually told your parents that you feel "ugly" with all that extra hair? They might not realize this, so it's a good place to start. If they won't let you shave because they're afraid you'll cut yourself shaving, there's always plenty of alternative ways of getting the hair off (like waxing), so you can suggest those. You can also point out how you're almost in high school; if you're not old enough to shave now, then when? You could also suggest only starting with shaving your armpit hair, because it's the most noticeable. If they still won't let up, you don't have to wear pants and long-sleeved shirts; you can wear capris (long shorts), and t-shirts with a bit longer of a sleeve, which will help hide the extra hair. Good luck!
--Sarah, IML Mentor
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