How You Can Help Your Daughter To Be Body Confident: Change Your Body Talk

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How To Build Positive Body Image In Teens

BY DR SARAH HUGHES

There’s a body image crisis unfolding amongst teen girls. They want tiny waists, flat stomachs, and box gaps and they’re willing to starve themselves to achieve their goals. Being smart, funny, and compassionate doesn’t carry as much weight as it used to. In 2014 self-worth is measured in kilograms.

Do you model body bashing?

Do you model body bashing?

Women seem to be pre-programed to disapprove of their bodies. It doesn’t matter whether we’re a size 6 or a size 16 – we’ll always find a way to body bash. We’ll focus on how much we hate our thighs and ignore the fact that we have killer abs or be so fixated on the width of our hips that we forget about our lengthy legs. We beat ourselves up for being too tall, too short, too curvy, not curvy enough, not pretty enough, not thin enough…not perfect enough.

We body bash and make ourselves miserable. But you know what’s worse? We’re passing it on to our daughters.

When your daughter hears you complain about your thighs or when she witnesses you vowing to lose weight (again) it undoes everything you’ve ever done to build her body confidence. She learns that even though you’ve told her that who she is as a person is far more important than the shape and size of her body, appearance really does matter – why else would you be so upset about your own body?

If you don’t practice what you preach – neither will your daughter.

But to pass on body confidence you need to do more than just stop body bashing. Not talking about appearance at all won’t fix the problem. You need to change your body talk.

You need to find things that you like about your body and compliment yourself in front of your daughter. You need to speak positively about the appearance of other women. You need to help your daughter identify her body strengths.

Don’t be afraid to develop a positive body language. It won’t send the message that your daughter’s appearance is her greatest attribute – you can still help her to see that she is more than her appearance.

Teach your daughter that her appearance isn’t anywhere close to being the most important thing about her AND help her to find things that she likes about her body.

She’ll be unstoppable.

Dr. Sarah Hughes is a clinical psychologist and the founder of Think Clinical Psychologists. She enjoys working with children, adolescents, and adults, and specialises in anxiety, depression, postnatal depression, eating disorders, self-harm, and challenging behaviour.


 

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