Now that my daughter is eleven and smack dab in the middle of her tweens, we’ve been talking a lot lately about her body and the changes she is currently experiencing and what is to come. While discussing menstruation, hormones, growth spurt, and other items, I’ve also been sharing with her real photos of real girls to help not only build up her self esteem, but to see a positive body image. With the insertion of media and photos, I want her to be proud of what she looks like and the woman she is becoming.
I don’t allow my daughter to watch reality television, but she’s seen her share of the Kim Kardashians of the world. In this day and age, there’s nothing we can do to totally eliminate these personalities from our worlds. But what we can do so is keep it as real as we can with our girls. Doing this will help them build a healthy love how they are on the inside as well as the outside—not an idea of what the media says is beautiful. We can’t rely on others to do this—we’ve got to take the bull by the horn and be proactive. So I regularly have girl chats with with daughter and we discuss things one-on-one. During this time, she gets heaping doses of not only love, but of real talk. The self confidence she is sure to gain starts with me.
How do I talk to my daughter about establishing a positive body image? Here are just a few things we chat about during our talks:
I take my latest issues of Glamour ,Us Weekly, and InStyle and show her all of the images that have been retouched and airbrushed. I show her this because I want her to not to try to appeal to a false sense of beauty that has been constructed by a computer. I also use the internet to search of before and after pictures so she can see for herself how this is done.
I often tell my daughter that there’s nothing more beautiful than a girl who is smart. By doing well in school, it can help give her even more confidence which can lend to an improved body image. She also is active in sports at school and plays the viola and takes piano lessons to further her “got it going on” factor. I know that playing two instruments has improved her posture and made her more outgoing, all which lend to a better image of self.
We also discuss plastic surgery and how it morphs and transforms people, and how this also lends to an altered state of “reality”.
Mommy is Fly, So Are You:
She often hears me saying that I am fly, and I want her to know that I truly believe I am. She is going to get her flyness from me, and knowing that I love myself will help her love herself too.
My daughter’s body is changing rapidly at this time, and in comparison to other girls in her class, she is clearly blossoming. But I let her know that all girls blossom in there own time, and there’s nothing wrong with the changes she is currently experiencing. I tell her it’s okay to feel awkward at times, it is normal.
Now that I’ve been on my fitness journey, I’ve also been minding what I eat. And this has been a positive for my daughter, who often follows my lead. I am preparing healthier meals and buying better snacks for her without high fructose corn syrup and other additives, and we’ve been helping one another be our best physically from the inside out. She loves fruit, so that is what she mostly snacks on these days. And now that we are eating healthier, she is truly glowing.
I am my daughter’s biggest fan, and I always let her know on the daily how much I love her and how beautiful she is on the inside as well as the outside. I love seeing her smile and being kind to others, all which are traits that will develop her secret sauce to success. It is important for us mamas to be in our daughter’s corners.
Who She Admires:
My daughter is in love with singer Demi Lovato and the group Fifth Harmony. Both of them sing about being strong women, and they carry themselves rather well. Demi has been vocal in the past about her experience with eating disorders, so that is something that my daughter is aware of. Through being a Demi fan, she is privy to some of the mistakes Demi made as it related to her own body image. I think both Demi and Fifth Harmony are good examples of role models who empower and inspire her. I am all for that.
Developing a positive body images starts with us—not with the media, online, etc. We’ve got to make sure to talk to our girls and stay engaged with them about how they feel and what they are going through.
And if you’re looking for more “girl power”, I’ve got a post called 10 Ways to Instill Girl Power in your Tween that is perfect if you are looking for ideas on how to empower and inspire your girl to be the best she can be.
Kristin G says
I love that you say how fly you are in front of your daughter! I’m sure so many girls these days hear their mom putting themselves down and talking about their flaws. I want teen girls to know how beautiful they are and not focus on flaws that society tells them they have.