Educate girls to not worry about their weight and body image and what society thinks about them. As a mother, avoid criticizing your own body, gossiping about other women's weight, using food as a reward or punishment, and eating food to comfort yourselves emotionally. Instead eat healthy foods and veggies all the time. Be active and make exercise a fun and regular activity for everyone.
It’s exciting and scary knowing that I’m in charge of raising my precious little girl in this crazy world with so many uncertainties. When I was in high school, I used to struggle with an eating disorder which contributed to other eating disorders and body image issues. And, therefore, I don’t want that for my daughters or for any other little girls.
What I Truly Want For My Girls
I would want my girls to be:
- Confident in their own skin; not worrying about their weight, what society thinks or what others think about them.
- Healthy and happy.
- To eat well because they know they would feel better that way.
- To be active because they feel strong, powerful and motivated to do so.
In my opinion, all these factors start at home and can be done by living through example. I know my girl is still young and we have yet to deal with the bullies of others and the pressures of social media. However, we as mothers can help raise healthy daughters right from the start.
Body Issues: How Mothers Can Help
The following behavioral traits are damaging and negative in nature:
- Talking about dieting around your kids.
- Talking negatively about your body around your kids.
- Criticizing pictures of yourself.
- Talking or gossiping about other women, celebrities or their bodies.
- Using food as a reward (You got a good grade? Then let’s get ice cream) or punishment (No dessert if you do).
- Using food to comfort yourselves emotionally.
Instead, the following can be tried:
- Taking a compliment and owning it instead of dismissing it (when someone says you look great, not saying you feel fat or whatever you’re used to saying).
- Eating healthy foods and veggies all the time.
- Making sure that the dad also eats his veggies and healthy foods in front of your daughters.
- Being active and exercising regularly and making them the norm around your house.
- Treating exercises as fun activities and not as chores.