Encouraging a Healthy Body Image In Your Daughter
Body image is everything with girls, so when I hear a little voice say “Do my thighs look fat?
Yes this was the question I was greeted with the other morning by my 7 year old…Yes a 7 year old!!
First of all I can practically wrap my hand around her thigh. Second of all where on earth do they get this stuff from?
It wasn’t until I had a very hard, close look at myself and my own actions, that I realised that this perception of her body image was indeed coming from myself.
What’s the old saying? “The bathroom scales never lie”. Well at times I wish mine did.
We have some pretty flash looking scales in our bathroom and I am in the habit of standing on them each morning. Why? I have no idea.
Maybe I feel a sense of accomplishment when the number isn’t as high as the day before.
Maybe it’s to give me some inspiration and a kick up the bum to get fitter and healthier.
Looking back on it now, I really think they are doing me more harm than good, especially to my own self esteem and perhaps indeed, I have been sending the wrong message to my daughters.
Our kids look up to us, they take their cues from us and whether we realise it at the time or not, how we behave, what we say and what we do all influence them and have an impact on the people they will eventually become.
Do I want my girls to feel self conscious about their body image or do I want them to to feel confident in their own skin?
I think I’ve just answered my own question..
Like a lot of teenagers at the moment, Miss 15 loves Kylie and Kendall Jenner. She replicates the hairstyles, the makeup and yes she has even tried the lip thing..much to my horror.
I know that she would love to become a model herself one day, but potentially immersing herself into such a body conscious environment is a somewhat scary thought.
Girls will always find a role model to look up to. Do I wish it was someone like Malala Yousafzai that had caught her eye? Perhaps. But I also know that celebrity is fleeting and it will be someone else that takes her fancy next year.
Miss 10 came home from school earlier in the year upset that some boys in her class had called her “fat”.
I was furious, I mean how dare these little snots speak about her like that! What gives them the right to make her feel self conscious and badly about herself?
Our kids bodies change and grow so fast.
The truth was earlier in the year Miss 10 was holding some “puppy fat” on her rapidly growing frame. She is quite a tall kid for her age and her body was just changing so fast and certain areas were struggling to keep up.
Fast forward to the end of the year, she is now taller and fitter and yes slender, especially after a season of netball. She is nearing puberty and will probably reach this milestone sooner than most of her peers, this also shows on her body and it has been very hard for her to get used to.
So after some serious soul searching I have come to the decision to make a conscious effort to be more positive about my own body image in front of my girls.
- They constantly tell me how pretty I am, maybe I should start listening to them (isn’t every Mum “pretty” to her kids).
- I am not going to criticize my weight or appearance in front of them again.
- I am not going to speak negatively about food.
- I am not going to speak about dieting and weight loss.
- I am going to compliment them on more about what they do and not how they look.
- I am going to teach them that changes in our body weight and appearance are normal, especially while they are growing.
- I am going to encourage them to understand the difference between “photo shop” and “real life”.
- I am going to reinforce that an active and healthy lifestyle, is far more important than what is reflected back at us when we stand on the bathroom scales.
- Lastly I am going to turf those damned bathroom scales out the window.
Make Overs are still heaps of fun though….