Having a negative self-image carries over into so many other parts of our lives.
When you don’t love how you look, it’s hard to love the rest of you too. As moms, the last thing we want to do is pass that way of thinking onto our children. So, how do we protect our daughters from feeling the same way? It’s not easy. But we have to change the conversation. We have to stop focusing on the importance of our physical attributes: our hair, nails, and pant size.
My thought?????? The absolute best way to discuss body with your daughter is simple……DON’T!!!! Don’t comment on how thin she is. Don’t comment on how heavy she is. Don’t talk about her belly. Don’t make her think that being attractive is all she has. Don’t focus on any of it.
And while you’re at it, don’t focus on how thin you are. Don’t focus on how heavy you are. Don’t talk about your belly. Don’t talk about losing weight. Don’t talk about dieting. Don’t tell her that you feel fat. Don’t talk about other women’s bodies. Don’t mention how skinny they are or how heavy they are. Don’t focus on the things you don’t want your little girl to focus on.
When you focus on her outside, she will learn that the outside is what is important, what defines her.
She will learn to feel uncomfortable in her own skin if it doesn’t look exactly how she thinks it should. She will learn that to be beautiful, she needs to be perfect. She will learn to feel inadequate. She will grow up thinking that all of her best attributes are skin deep, and will never focus on becoming who she is meant to be.
Instead of pointing out physical attributes, use your energy to help grow her from the inside out.
Here are some things you can say, things you should DO:
- Tell her how smart she is
- Teach her about compassion and about how to give to others.
- Let her be silly, regardless of who’s watching. As a matter of fact, be silly with her.
- Exercise with her, teach her that movement is a great stress relief and let her learn to love it.
- Teach her about inner strength and the importance of forgiveness.
- Let her see you cry, so that she understands that having emotions doesn’t make you weak.
- When her feelings are hurt, guide her through healing so she learns resilience and perseverance.
- Show her what self-care is: both mental and physical. Because when she grows up, she’ll need to remember it’s important.
- Go for long walks and have long talks. Show her what it means to communicate, to be a good listener and to trust in someone.
- When you talk about yourself, use kind words, even when you’re having a shitty day. The words you choose will become her inner voice someday.
- Compliment other people. Focus on their qualities, not their appearance. Let her hear you raise other people up.
- Let her know that good people sometimes make bad choices, and that doesn’t make them bad people. Teach her not to judge. But also let her know that not all people have good intentions for you and we need to learn the difference.
- Be kind to strangers. Say “good morning” randomly. Smile. She needs to see you be a good person, so she can grow up to be one.
- Practice gratitude, so that she will learn to be grateful for who and what she is.
- Tell her she’s beautiful and worthy. As a matter of fact, make her say it out loud. We could all do with a little reminder of how amazing we really are.
Our job are parents is a difficult one. It is so unbelievably important and comes with great responsibility. We worry, we stress, we question ourselves, we cry, we laugh, we love more than we thought we could. I recently read a quote that really resonated with me….
“Your greatest contribution to this world may not be something you do, but someone you raise.”
I will do my very best every day to contribute someone wonderful to this world, because our world can really use it!
I leave you with some of my favorite quotes, that often guide my thinking and parenting….
“Your level of belonging can never be greater than your level of self-acceptance” – Brene Brown
“Speak to your children as if they are the wisest, kindest, most beautiful and magical humans on earth. For what they believe is what they will become” – Brooke Hampton
“Behind every young child who believes in himself is a parent who believed first” – unknown
“Self-confidence is the most attractive quality a person can have. How can anyone see how great you are if you can’t even see it yourself?” – unknown
Keep it burnin',