Do you want your children to be body confident?
I hope the answer is a universal YES!
Then there are certain things you need to be mindful of. Some of it is about what you say to your kids, some of it is about what you say about yourself and some of it is about your behaviour. Children are amazing at picking up on every little nuance of what you say and do, and you have to remember that you are their number one role model and teacher – so teach them well.
Don’t focus all your comments on what your child looks like.
Praise your child.
Tell them they are wonderful, clever, funny, kind, interesting, inquisitive, inventive, brilliant, caring, happy, fun and yes tell them they are beautiful, but make how they look just a part of being them – don’t ignore it but don’t over emphasise it.
If you are constantly telling your daughter she’s pretty, or your son that he’s handsome, then they start to put to much emphasis on their looks. If others then reinforce this with them then they are in danger of becoming shallow and obsessed with their image. This in turn can lead to body issues. If others do not reinforce this, they can feel less valued than they want to be. Again this can lead to body issues, but it can also lead to serious esteem issues.
Be careful how you praise your children.
When you talk about food, talk about nutrients and health – DO NOT talk about calories
Having a healthy diet is important to all of us. The key word there is healthy.
When we obsess about calories, we not only take the fun out of food, but we start to twist what it is about. Food is fun, tasty and provides our bodies with the building blocks to grow and to heal itself. It gives us energy and helps us to concentrate. By all means, educate your children on nutrition, but avoid concepts like good and bad food. This can lead to faddy diets, fear of putting on weight, body dis-morphia and problem eating.
It’s also a good idea not use food as a treat. This again can lead to seeing food as a thing which makes you feel better, or lifts you when you are down. Try to plan an activity or do something together instead.
When you talk about yourself, be positive.
If you are negative about yourself, you are teaching your child that it is normal to not like your body.
If you want them to like their bodies, model this behaviour by liking your own body.
If you want your child to be permanently counting calories and worrying they’re not good enough, then by all means keep on your extreme diets and criticising yourself.
Don’t praise your fiends (or celebrities) for looking thinner.
This just teaches your child that thinner is better.
Ideally you shouldn’t be focussing too much on someone’s appearance, what ever it is. Positive or negative comments on people appearance just teach your child that that is something you value. Isn’t it better to be a good person?
Value their individuality.
Teach your children that everyone has value. Everyone has beauty. Everyone is deserving of the same chance.
Let them explore their talents, their interests and their passions.
We all have hang ups and insecurities, we all have things we wished we were more confident about. Help your kids to have as few of these as possible by being kind to them, kind to others and, just as importantly, kind to yourself.
p.s. I think you’re Be YOU tiful 🙂