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4 Tips to Build a Positive Body Image For Your Daughter
Many girls struggle with body image issues as early as elementary school! It used to start around puberty and while puberty is a more common time period for girls to struggle with their perceptions of themselves, each generation of girls seems to face body image issues earlier than the next. I blame the media, clothing retailers and frankly, parents for buying into certain concepts and products that advertisers have “told” parents that girls need. So now more than ever, it is important that we do certain easy things to start building a healthy perception of our own bodies and our kids the second they pop out of that womb! If we start early, it will help our girls ( and boys) think of their bodies in positive ways. This way when that turbulent time of puberty hits, our girls will already be armed with good body images of themselves. Try these easy tips to help your girl feel good about her body.
Talk About Strength and Health, Not Weight
That number on the scale has done a lot of evil for men and women alike for centuries. When it comes to your own weight do yourself and your girl a favor: don’t focus on the number. Focus on how your clothes feel, your body fat percentage and/or Body Mass Index.
When you talk about trying on clothes, don’t obsess over your own weight– instead, talk to your child about how comfortable or uncomfortable an item is.
When addressing food choices and exercise, talk about strength and health, not being thin. Using words like “healthy”, “fit,” or “strong” to describe bodies are ideal. Using words like “unhealthy” to describe bodies that are no ideal is also a better way to phrase an unhealthy weight rather than cruel words like “fat” or “obese.”
Don’t Talk Badly About Yourself or Others
Don’t badmouth others for their weight or yourself! Your girls are listening. If you slam the neighbor for being chunky, imagine how your child absorbs this perception. Talking badly about yourself is also a huge no-no. If you don’t love yourself, how can your child love herself?
Focus On Healthy Food Choices
Instead of watching your weight, watch your food choices and discuss the in’s and out’s of nutrition with your child. Be sure to also make time for fats and sweets. Denying your child or yourself the right to dessert all the time is a sure way to have your daughter develop an eating problem later on in life.
Compliment Other Things
Yes, tell her she’s pretty but more importantly tell your daughter she is capable, fit, strong, smart, resourceful etc. If you’re a mother, you should also focus on these aspects of your own self. Focusing too much on looks is bad for you and your child who will mirror your actions.
These are all small things you can do to help your daughter develop a healthy body image from day one!