Our daughters must fight incredible hurdles to become comfortable with their bodies. Hollywood insists that you will only be loved if you are slim and girls believe that being in an abusive relationship is better than not being in one. They believe no one will love them if they are fat. As a mother of two beautiful girls I want to make sure they know their great worth as women. One of the most important things I have learned is to ensure each of my daughters loves her body no matter what society says it should look like.
Here are some tips for helping your daughter love her body:
Never let your daughter hear you degrade your own body
Do not vocalize what you do not like about your body. Young girls especially look up to their mothers as one of the most beautiful women they know. They are supermom’s who can fix their hurts, cook dinner and make them feel better. Degrading our own body shatters that supermom image and your daughters begin to look at their own bodies in negative ways.
Let your daughter love her body
Encourage your daughter to look into a mirror and discover what she loves about herself. Vocalize what you love about your daughter and make sure you are sincere.
Teach your daughter that aging is not a curse
Help your daughter learn about nutrition, physical activity and that, as we age, we should always take care of our bodies. If you are married, talk about how you love your spouse more as time goes by.
Allow her dad to brush and style her hair
Dad may not know how to do the stylish braids, but he can give her wonderful memories. Encourage Dad to ask about her dreams and aspirations. A little girl sees her dad as one of the strongest people she knows and loves having him take time from his busy life to gently brush her hair.
Encourage your daughter to get messy and play sports
Parents often treat their girls with kid gloves. What they really need is a chance to play in the mud, get a few bruises and learn that physical exercise is more important that looking like Hollywood.
Limit the teenage movies and magazines
It can be hard to feel beautiful if you have multiple images of what you are “supposed” to look like. It also distorts the fact that beauty comes in all shapes and sizes. When examining a fashion magazine all the models look the same and are presented as empty clothing racks.
Educate your daughter that being fit is more important than being slim
Eating disorders hospitalize thousands of teenage girls who should be out enjoying physical activity not hospital feeding tubes. Teach your daughter the effects of eating disorders and how it can cause permanent damage to her body. It can even affect her ability to bear children later in life. Encourage her to find a sport she enjoys and emphasize the benefits of being fit, not slim.
Don’t force her to smile
Allow your daughter to voice how she is feeling. Women often smile to cover up how they are really feeling and miss the chance to get help when needed.
Let your daughter have her own style
Don’t try to turn your daughter into a mini you. Conversely, if you are smaller than your daughter don’t wear the clothes she has outgrown. Let her be herself and find her own fashion.
Love her for who she is
Never tease or make fun of your daughter if she is a little overweight or underweight. Love her for who she is and remind her how important she is to you.