15 Jan Young girls and body image
There’s no denying that our culture and the media are obsessed with women’s looks and if you open any fashion magazine or watch a music video you’ll know that the media is not kind to our girls.
We need to armour our girls and protect them from the unrealistic expectations and unattainable ideals of beauty.
When children feel good about themselves they are better equipped to resist negative pressures and have an easier time handling conflict. So what can we do to help them?
- Be mindful of your language – if you spend time critiquing yourself and your own body (and others) your daughter is going to be influenced by what you say and negative diet talk or judging others will become part of her language and vocabulary
- Place less emphasis on how she looks and more importance on all of her skills and talents. Complement your daughter on her thoughtfulness, kindness, determination, patience, or how she is talented at her chosen sports or other activities.
- Ban diet talk – remove talk about diet tips, calorie counting and restricting foods from your language and instead focus on health. As an example remove the term bad and good foods from your language and focus on how foods can have an effect on the way you feel.
- Role models – share with your children who your roles models are and why. Ensure the list doesn’t include Elle McPherson because she’s a “hotty” or Ryan Gosling because he adorns killer abs! I’m talking Oprah Winfrey because she had a very troubled childhood and was determined and relentless in her vision to change and make the world a better place. Nick Vujicic (motivational speaker and the man with no limbs) because even though the cards he was dealt were unspeakably challenging he has made the most of what he was given and is living a life of inspiration.
You will be teaching your children that value is placed on what you do with your life rather than what you look like.