View Full Version : sense of identity / self esteem

19-02-2011, 04:24 PM
not sure how to describe this politically correctly, so please excuse my descriptions, they are intended to explain the situation.

mindee recently started nursery.
the children painted a self portrait.
mindee is 3.5y.
from my broad observation of all the portraits, there seems to be 3 types of skin tones, although there are probably slight variations in these.

generally there are those which are white, mixed colour, and dark coloured.

mindee did hers as mixed colour (probably guided by nursery)

Personally I have never liked to try and classify mindee's skin colour. She is a bit darker than my DD who is white, but I wouldn't term her mixed or dark coloured. Any discussions we have every had have been that mindee has darker skin, DD has lighter skin. Mindees skin is a bit darker than her brothers, as he is fair and she is not (dark brown hair). We sometimes comment on skin tones in books.

anyhow mum has been in touch to say she is concerned that mindee is getting low self esteem cos she considers her skin tone to be dark. i told mum where i thought this might have come from (nursery self portraits) and that I have never said mindee has dark skin.

mindee does have some dark colour in her family (grand-dad) but rest are white, and really i am not sure what i should be doing / saying and how i can stop her from getting low self esteem because she considers herself dark ????

19-02-2011, 04:38 PM
Studies show that children are aware of colour difference much earlier than we think.

However, we should use difference to highlight similarity so we are supporting the child... we all have differently coloured skin and eyes and hair and even teeth... but hey we all have skin and eyes and hair and teeth.

Let's look at these nurses / doctors / lawyers / refuse collectors etc... they all have different coloured skin and eyes and hair and teeth as well.

We can also talk about the positive reasons for the colour eg better in the sun for not burning etc... then we are building the child's self esteem.

This is partly why children need to see a range of colours in books, on posters etc BUT not just at our houses!! They need to be at home too.

So I would put it back on mum... I am doing xx to support your child, here are some ideas for you instead of telling her she is the same as everyone else, show her why it is special to be different!

hth :D

The Juggler
19-02-2011, 04:41 PM
the thing is that for her to have low self-esteem by seeing herself as darker skinned would indicate that she thinks being 'dark skinned' is a negative.

I think I would tackle it further by doing lots of activities about faces/people and show how people in the same family can have different colouring. I am whiter than white in winter but have olive skin whilst my dh is pasty scottish white (no offence to any scottish members) and is several shades whiter than me.

what is it that makes mum thinks she's suffering from low self-esteem. Maybe something specific has been said? Or does she think she is worried that she is not teh same as other members of her family?

She needs to feel good about herself but also to understand that if she has dark hair and all her family are blonde that is fine. It's the same with skin tone.:)