This past Friday I met up with girlfriends over lunch on a beautiful sunny summer day. As we caught up on our careers, activities and families, the topic of height came up. Any time I share an update about TALL District, my tall friends take a deep breath and proceed to share their most recent ‘tall experiences’ with me.
As we shared pictures of our families, my 5’11” friend Alaina shared her frustration with the way her four year old daughter is treated because of her height. Her biggest frustration is that people treat her daughter as if she is older and expect her to have the maturity of an older child. She also shared that her daughters teacher had different expectations of her relative to other children and mentioned kids making statements or joking in a manner that is unhealthy for her daughter.
“Jokes come from the root of insecurity and those trying to laugh at what makes you different usually wish they had that blessing.” – Amber S. (Tall Glass of Style)
When I asked my friend Alaina how she handles this recurring situation she shared the following:
- She serves as a living example to her daughter by loving her own height
- She constantly makes positive and reassuring comments about her daughters height
- She enrolls her daughter in activities that embrace and celebrate her height (dance and sports)
- She speaks up for her child when someone, even a teacher, treats her like she’s an older child or makes negative or snide remarks about her daughters height
What are some of the ways you help your tall child? What are some of the ways your parent(s) helped you during your ‘tall’ childhood?
A few moms and daughters answered this question last year during TALL District’s Mommy Affect series, which addresses the impact mothers of all heights have on their daughters.
Quotes from the Mommy Affect Series
“To mothers of Tallistas, be patient. You see the beauty in your young tallista but it may take her a while (it took me until my 20’s) to realize her fabulousness.” – Nakisha (6’0″, daughter and mother)
“Try your best to encourage and promote self-love, in the hopes of these beautiful girls becoming strong women one day” – Debbie (5’3″, mom of tall daughter Tori)
“When my pediatrician asked my mom if she wanted to give me some type of hormone that would stunt my growth she refused. I didn’t realize it at the time, but this small step showed me that my height was not something that needed to be fixed or stunted. I was fine just the way I was, as God had intended.” – Tanesha (6’4″, Pretty Tall Style)”
Worlds tallest family. Images taken during 2012 for an article written by Kathryn Knight for Mail Online (2012), Father 7’0″, Mother 6’5″, Eldest son 4’5″ at age 6 (average height of ten year old according to the article), daughter 3’7″ at 4 (size of avg 5 year old), and baby at 6 weeks was almost two feet tall.
Ages 1-9 yrs. are some of the most formative years in a child’s life. During this time, they are trying to fit in and figure out who they are. As a result, it is very important for parents of tall children to make height positive comments, create height positive experiences, show them how to love and embrace their height through actions (if the parent is tall), express understanding even if you are unable to relate, and let them play. After all, they are children.
Also, while tall boys are often celebrated, girls who are tall are often treated as inadequate or different which has lead to teasing, bullying and low self-esteem. People feel very comfortable commenting about their height without thought of how that may impact the child. My friend Alaina said her mother would literally place her hand on top of her head when ever someone commented on her height. That left a lasting impression on her, one that made her self-conscious about her height. It is also one of the reasons she is adamant about being a positive influence for her tall daughter.
Note: There will come a time when height will become an advantage for your child, male or female. When they become adults they will gain access to leadership roles and opportunities in part due to their height because of the association of power, intelligence, and experience.
Articles for parents of tall children as well:
- When a Child is Abnormally Tall, Healthy Children website
- How Being Tall As a Child Impacted Me, Alexandra Allam
- The Tall and Short of It, Parents magazine, Jeanette Moninger
- Mommy Affect Series, TALL District, J. Enovy
J. Enovy, Founder