How Your Body Image Influences Your Daughter's
It might seem difficult to counteract all the unhealthy messages about body image that surround your daughter each and every day. They're at school, in her magazines, on her favorite TV shows and online. But the best way to keep your daughter's feelings about her body positive is to lead by example.
Examine your own body image and attitude, as it can directly shape your daughter's. Here are body image do's and don'ts to consider:
- Do discuss and practice healthy eating habits, keep fruits and veggies on hand for snacking, and enjoy an indulgent dessert now and then. Your daughter will see you eating a well-rounded diet, see that enjoying a sweet treat every now and again is OK, and follow your lead.
- Don't talk constantly about dieting, losing weight or how you absolutely can't eat a single bite of cake because it goes straight to your thighs. Your daughter will likely pick up on your insecurities and develop a few dangerous tendencies herself.
- Do concentrate on the parts of your body you are happy with. No one's body (including that actress's) is perfect, but we each have our favorite features. It's OK to say things like, "I like my arms; they're toned and strong," or "I love my red hair; it's different from most people's." Your daughter will learn to find the things about her body that she can be proud of.
- Don't say things like, "I wish I looked like that actress," or "I hate my (insert imperfect body part here)." Your daughter may begin to think it's acceptable to emulate super-thin female stars. Or she may scan her body to find the parts she's unhappy with.
- Do exercise regularly and discuss the benefits of a good workout. Try exercising together. Take a walk when she gets home from school, or ride your bikes around the neighborhood on the weekend. You'll be staying fit together and forming an even tighter bond.
- Don't obsess about exercise or work out excessively. Your daughter may begin to believe this behavior is normal or necessary to be thin.
Teens receive plenty of pressure to be thin, beautiful and perfect. But you can help your daughter develop a positive body image. Just remember, the better you feel about yourself, the more likely your daughter is to feel good about herself.
If you found this helpful, these articles and forums might help, too:
Article: Your Daughter's Body Image
Article: Emotional Issues of Growing Up
Forum: Emotional Fitness