Your Daughter’s Body Image
Studies show that adolescent girls are particularly vulnerable to developing a poor body image. Between media displays of “ideal” bodies and a desire to be admired by a peer group, girls can feel a great deal of anxiety about their changing bodies. To ease the pressure and encourage self-esteem, there are a few things you can do.
Compliment your daughter on her appearance. Tell her you like her outfit or the way she did her hair today. Remember that teasing, no matter how harmless or playful it may seem, can make her feel self-conscious about her physical attributes or weight.
If she’s feeling that she’s developing either faster or slower than her friends, reassure her that girls grow at different rates. Remind her that, eventually, everyone will catch up to one another. And everyone will look a little different and beautiful in her own way.
Acknowledge and compliment achievements not related to her looks: academics, arts, sports, acts of kindness. Remind her that she is a great person inside and out.
Positive reinforcement is crucial for your daughter. If she has a legitimate weight problem, deal with it. But do it in a way that doesn’t make her feel set apart from the rest of the family. Instead of putting her on a diet, provide healthy meals and exercise opportunities for the whole family.
Finally, examine your own body image. Your attitude may directly shape your daughter’s. If you feel good about yourself, she’ll be more likely to feel good about herself.
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