All right you guys. It’s time to get personal. With all the negative messages swirling around in today’s media, chances are that your daughter will be exposed to damaging images at a very young age. When I was only 10 years old, my best friend informed me that she was going on a diet because she thought she was fat. 10 years old! Another friend once confessed to me that she wished she had lighter skin because “black was ugly”. And throughout middle school and high school, I yoyo-dieted, starved myself at times, constantly wished and prayed that I was skinnier, and hated my body. Thankfully, I have finally accepted myself for who I am and have started to embrace my body, but not everyone is so lucky. All of these issues stem from one common denominator: low self esteem and negative body image. Young girls (and, yes, boys) are constantly bombarded with unrealistic images of what beauty is, and are told that they must look a certain way to be accepted. While you can’t shield them from everything (unless you lock them away from the world and force them to become a technology-less hermit— which just isn’t practical), there are steps you can take as a parent to nurture positive body images in your kids. Haley at Carrots For Michaelmass shares some wonderful tips:
Love Your Body: If you want your daughter to grow up confidently loving her body you will have to model this behavior for her. Dissatisfied looks and critical statements when you look in the mirror will not go unnoticed by her.
Eat as a Family: By eating dinner together and enjoying each other’s company, you are impressing upon your daughter that partaking of food is a positive experience. It’s not just calories in your mouth, it’s a MEAL.
Tell Her That She Is Beautiful: She needs to hear this from you and, perhaps more importantly, from her father. She must know that you think she is beautiful, absolutely gorgeous.
Tell Her She Is More than Beautiful: Note and praise her other attributes. Mention that you think she’s clever, interesting, determined, kind, fun, delightful, talented, etc. Don’t allow her identity to be limited to her physical appearance.
Discuss Cultural Messages of Beauty:Open a dialogue. Teach your daughter to question the subtle messages that are being presented to her. Teach her to distinguish between lies and the truth about her body.
Be sure to read the entire article and all of her tips– they’re all fabulous.
Photo Credit: Cheriejoyful