As a mom, all of us want our children to know how beautiful they are, especially those of us with daughters. We raise them from birth always telling them how beautiful, smart, and special they are, but what happens when we’ve done all we can as a parent, and it still isn’t enough? Everywhere you turn you see unrealistic goals being set for our young women. Magazines, internet, and television are full of photo shopped images of women with perfect bodies. What some of our young daughters do not understand is, these images are not “real” and have been altered in so many ways to make these young women look perfect in an extremely imperfect world. While it’s impossible to keep our children form seeing these unrealistic portrayals of what young women look like, there are some things we, as parents can do.
1. Remember children live by example
We’ve all had days where we felt less than good about ourselves. How many of us have stood in front of the mirror, saying how fat we are, how we need to lose a few pounds, or going on crazy fad diets trying to shed some weight? I’m not saying not to lose weight, if that’s what you choose, but we all need to learn to be happy in our own skin no matter what our size and our daughters will learn by watching us, their biggest teachers.
2. Get out and get active
You can start a small exercise routine with your daughter no matter how young or old she is. Something as simple as an evening walk can be a great way to connect with your daughter, as well as get some exercise. Teach your child the healthy way to stay in shape, and it will stay with them throughout their adulthood as well.
3. Compliments can go a long way
Complimenting your daughter on even the smallest things can go such a long way. Whatever they excel in whether it be, academically, athletically, musically talented, artistic, whatever it may be make sure to tell your child everyday how proud you are of them, and they will focus more on their abilities, rather than their outer beauty.
4. Talk to your child
Make it a daily habit to talk to your daughter. Know exactly what’s going on in their life. Explain the dangers of eating disorders, and what they see on the internet, television, etc. answer any questions they may have, and let them know that they should feel good about themselves, because outer beauty is only a small part of who we really are.