Let’s face it — body image has always been a tough issue for girls, yet it’s gotten a bit tougher over the past decade or so. In today’s social media/selfie world, where an image of “perfection” is just a click away, it now may be tougher than ever. How do we take the pressure off of our growing girls? By talking through body issues and development and making sure our daughters have positive role models and realistic standards for a whole range of healthy bodies.
Many women struggle with body image themselves, so as mothers, this may not always be the easiest task. Below are some ideas for how you can foster a positive environment where your daughters can feel good about themselves — no matter what their size or shape.
Play down gender differentials from an early age. If you have girls, make it a priority not to say “girls don’t do x,y, or z,” or “that’s just for boys.” Use positive language to encourage girls, boost their self-esteem, and tell them that anything is possible so that they see their potential as limitless. Provide a wide range of toys and games for your daughters, and let your girls generate their own interests.
Don’t talk negatively about your own body in front of your kids…ever! Kids learn body attitudes from parents — whether to be ashamed and constantly unhappy or whether to be confident in their own skin. If you’re regularly talking about dieting, being fat, or excessively exercising, think about what message you’re sending your girls.
Use positive words for bodies and food. Instead of using a word like “skinny” in a positive light and “fat” in a negative light, talk about bodies using power words, such as “strong,” “healthy,” “fit” or “athletic.” Rather than holding up one type of body as the perfect type, talk to your kids about how bodies come in all different shapes and sizes.
To read more of Cara’s encouraging tips, click here…