How To Help Your Daughter Have Healthy Body Image
Some mothers say that raising a girl is hard, harder than raising boys. Girls bully each other. They don’t just punch each other; they slowly destroy each other’s self-esteem or reputation. Then there’s the sex stuff and the fear of them getting pregnant.
Then there is the complex issue of body image. Even though this issue is an emotional minefield, if mothers talk to girls early about these issues, they can set them up for a lifetime of a healthy relationship with their bodies.
Here are some ways to do that.
Don’t talk badly about your body
If you want your daughter to love her body then you, too, must love your own. So don’t talk badly about your body in front of your daughter. Don’t grab your stomach and say you are too fat. Don’t say you are on a diet all the time. Speak lovingly about your body in the presence of your daughter. You have to lead by example.
Make her start eating healthy at a young age
The best thing you can do is to get your children to like healthy, wholesome food from a young age. Don’t give into demands to order cheeseburgers and chicken fingers off the kids’ menu forever.
Kids’ menus should really just be for little kids, but by age eight or nine, transition your child onto the adult menu. Get creative with healthy foods at home, so your child’s palate adjusts to and even craves things like vegetables.
Make exercise about having fun
When it’s time to exercise with your children, don’t talk about burning calories or getting in shape. Talk about having fun. Make exercise a part of their daily activities, but find ways to make it exciting and interesting. Mix things up. Find new games for them. Take them on adventures to different fun places and beaches. Get them craving time outdoors and a little physical activity every day.
Focus on her other strengths
Praise your daughter regularly on her attributes that don’t pertain to her appearance. Tell her how smart she is. Tell her how funny she is. Tell her how creative she is. Rant and rave about her academic or artistic achievements in front of her. Let her know how much you admire her tenacity and resilience when it comes to achieving her academic and personal goals.
Expose her to great body role models
There are many wonderful body positive role models out there. There are plus size and curvy models that are challenging beauty stereotypes and speaking out about loving yourself for who you are. Expose your daughter to these role models, and not the super skinny, diet-addicted celebrities.
Give her better reading material
Keep your daughter away from magazines with headlines that state how a celebrity lost 100 pounds in months. That media barging makes her think from a young age that someone’s weight is newsworthy. It shouldn’t be. Expose her to better reading material. Give her books with strong female protagonists who have accomplished incredible feats—feats far more important than being a size zero.
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