Girls have lots of pressure from the media and fashion magazines to look flawless, blemish-free and very thin, like their favourite celebrities or models. What they don’t realize is that some digital enhancements are done to the photos to make women look “perfect”, therefore it is pretty much unrealistic to attain this ideal body. It is essential that we reinforce the importance of having a positive body image with our daughters, since self-esteem and body image are tied together and will affect how they feel about themselves. Poor self-esteem can lead to eating disorders and depression. Take the time to explain the touch-up of photos and, at the same time, get the conversation started about what it means to be beautiful inside and out!
Girls start thinking at a young age about how they look, since they compare themselves to friends or siblings. They realize that they do not have the same body size and shape as others, so some can see this as being negative since they are not alike. Don’t think that it’s only because they are necessarily overweight; sometimes it’s because they feel too skinny and tall. If your daughter starts to have negative thoughts about herself, tell her the many beautiful traits that make her so unique and special. Explain to her that her body will go through many changes during puberty. She will get taller, her hips and thighs will be wider, and her weight will increase. It’s also normal that she might feel stressed out, moody, or just unsure of herself. Beinggirl.com has great resources for young girls experiencing these changes, like this article on body changes during puberty. If ever your daughter complains about her weight gain or new body shape, as per my December article on Healthy lifestyle for Girls, it’s important for her to take good care of herself by eating healthy foods and getting regular exercise – not for her looks, but for her health.
Don’t forget to compliment your daughter on a daily basis on how beautiful she looks wearing her favourite dress or with her hair in a ponytail – or even on her positive behaviour, such as how thoughtful she was to help her brother with his homework, or put the groceries away in the cupboards. That will boost her self-esteem and body image.
As mothers, we also play a tremendous role in molding our daughter’s self-assurance and how she views what a woman should be and look like. If you complain about your weight, are constantly on diets, and make derogatory comments about your appearance, she will definitely mirror you and have low self-esteem.
A woman’s body comes in different shapes and sizes, so let’s embrace it, be proud, and be beautiful!
For more information on how to talk to your daughter about puberty, you can visit the Always Changing website sponsored by P&G, the experts in feminine care with Always & Tampax.
What is your definition of being beautiful?
Although this post has been generously sponsored by Always, the opinions and language are all my own, and in no way do they reflect Always.