How many times have we said, “Oh, I can’t eat that.” Or looked in the mirror and made a loud sigh of disappointment. Most of us have all been there. The real question is how many of us have said or done that in front of our daughters?
The world is flooded with messages about having the perfect body, losing weight, looking great. Society tells us that we need bigger boobs. A bigger butt. Perfect hair. Perfect skin. A perfect body. Anything less than a six pack is unacceptable.
40% of teenage girls have eating disorders. And 91% of female teenagers have attempted to control their weight through dieting, according to the Walden Center for Education and Research.
This is the world that our daughters are growing up in and it scares me to death.
My eleven-year-old was recently scrolling through my Instagram and saw a photo of a social media influencer. She was wearing a bathing suit and looked flawless. My daughter looked at the photo and said, “Wow, she has a perfect body.”
I explained to her that she does look good, but it’s more important about how she feels inside and what she is putting in the body that is the important thing. I also explained what Photoshop means.
We can’t shield our children from the images of perfection, but we can teach them about being healthy and strong.
We need to teach our daughters to love their bodies. I’ve been doing a lot of reading on this and have found a few tips that I’d like to share and what I’m doing with my daughters.
Ditch the Negative Talk
Our daughters listen and watch everything we do. If we are looking in the mirror and show a look of disgust, what do you think they will do? We are their role models and we must show them that we are proud of our bodies. Don’t get me wrong, when I look in the mirror I see a million flaws, but I keep that to myself.
Food is Not the Enemy
We must teach our children that we eat to fuel our body. Instead of saying that you eat vegetables because they are low calorie, say that they are the vitamins we need. Don’t say words like calories, fat, or diet. We should be eating healthy, but it’s okay for all of us to have a hot fudge Sundae. Yes, moms….even us!
The Truth About Exercise
Our daughters should understand that we exercise because it is good for our body and our mind. We should be explaining to them what exercise actually does to our bodies and why we do it. We don’t do it to work off that hot fudge sundae.
A Perfect Body Does Not Exist
Our daughters are scrolling through Instagram and Snapchat seeing these “perfect” bodies. We all know that most of them are photoshopped. It’s our job to explain to them these photos are not real.
Focus on Her Beauty
Our daughters are not only beautiful on the outside, but we should also be building their confidence about their inner beauty. We should be constantly reminding them about they are beautiful inside. We all have smart, caring and beautiful daughters and they should constantly be reminded.
As much as I wish the media and society would not focus as much on bodies and perfection, I don’t think that it’s going away. As parents, we have a very difficult job to keep our daughters confident.
I would love to hear what you do to instill confidence in your daughter.
Originally published at medium.com