The Body Image Issue: What You Can Do
When you have a daughter, it is important that you pay close attention to the body image issue. While all kids have the potential to worry about how they look, it does tend to be a bigger problem with girls, since there is more pressure put on them to look a certain way. The following tips will help you raise your daughter to have a positive body image, which is extremely important for all your children.
Focus on Your Daughter’s Personality and Intelligence
It is okay to compliment the way your daughter looks, but don’t focus only on her appearance. Get into the habit of giving her all types of compliments, emphasizing her skills, talents, creativity, intelligence, accomplishments, and personality traits. Let her know you are proud of everything she has done, you admire her strength, kindness and bravery, and that you are proud of her for trying new things. When you don’t put as much emphasis on how your daughter looks, she won’t think about it as much either. She will understand that a person’s appearance is just one of aspect of themselves.
Be Careful What You Do and Say About Yourself
How you carry yourself and what you say about your own body makes more of a difference than you might think. Your daughter is watching you, even when you don’t realize it. Your attitudes to your own body can have a big impact on your daughter’s own self esteem and body image. It is okay to be healthy and for you to encourage your daughter to be healthy, but talking negatively about your weight, complaining the scale isn’t moving, or constantly trying new fad diets is not going to teach her anything that will be good for her own body image.
Be Honest About People in the Media
Your daughter is going to see people in the media, and will be influenced by these images. She might want to look like the girls she sees on TV, movies, social media and in magazines. It is essential that you keep talking to her about realistic expectations and women’s bodies. Explain that these women all have different circumstances, from a personal trainer and restricted diet, to simply being born with that frame. Also be sure to discuss how much the images she sees have often been edited. It can be a hard discussion to have, but your daughter needs to understand that no two people are alike or will look the same.
Keep reminding your daughter that she should be healthy and proud of the body she has. Try to find the balance between encouraging healthy eating and exercise, but not putting so much emphasis on appearance.