How to Raise Your Daughter to Have Positive Body Image
One thing that I never learned from my childhood was to love my body.
In fact, I was always being told the exact opposite.
I was poked fun of for my weight while growing up. Constantly being mocked for my “thunder thighs,” I was also frequently told that it looked like I was gaining weight and to put on a little makeup to look better-all from the one person who should have built me up and made me feel good about myself, instead.
But, I was rarely told that I was beautiful or that I was fine just the way I was-something ever child and teen needs to hear.
At just 14, I began throwing up my food. It began with just a snack.. then a meal. I would purposely binge and feel guilty, then head right towards the bathroom. This went on for about a year and then I realized… what am I doing? This cannot be good for me. How could I let one negative person influence & control my emotions and thoughts like that?
Now that I am expecting a daughter of my own, this is worries me. In a society where good looks reign, I want my daughter to learn to have body confidence-no matter what size she is. As long as she is happy and healthy, it does not matter to me. The thought of poking fun of her or either of my children makes my heart break. No child should ever have to go through that. Period. It’s sickening.
It seems like every magazine you turn to, there’s articles on how to get skinnier. Instead, they should be focusing on health and how to get stronger.
If you have a daugher, I encourage you to reinforce the best confidence that you can into her to lift her up and make her feel good about herself. Being her mom, you have the most influence over her childhood so make it a good one.
Here are a few ways to raise a body confident girl:
- Never belittle her weight or looks. This just never needs to happen. I don’t care if she has chubby thighs or a pot belly-just stop. If you feel the need to pick on her weight, walk out of the room and pray about it before you blurt out something that could hurt her self esteem and, even possibly, hurt her for life. She will remember those words forever and sometimes you just cannot take them back.
- Don’t forget to tell her she’s beautiful. Even at a young age, a simple compliment can go a long way. For every negative thing you say to your child, it takes 5 compliments or positive things said to make up for that one bad thing. Think before you speak.
- Lead by example. If she sees mom constantly weighing herself daily, obsessing over calories, and worrying about her weight, then guess what? She will do the same thing! Why? Because she looks up to you and wants to be just like you. Watch your actions and how you think about your own self. Be confident and she will be, too. Be a good role model. If you want to lead a healthy example, be healthy and show her the way-the RIGHT way.
- Be the mother you wish you had. Putting ourselves into our daughter’s shoes can only help us better understand their perspective from a place of vulnerability and empathy. I use the obstacles in my childhood and teen years to fuel me to be only the BEST mother I can be today. We can’t change our past, but we can create a brighter future for our own children.