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Have a Healthy Body Image

We live in a society that is obsessed with body image. That's why we are fascinated by supermodels and why we purchase products that feature a pretty face in their advertising. But, body image is more than an advertisement; it is a serious aspect of self esteem that all parents should address. It is important that kids grow up with a healthy body image, and you do can set the stage for that to happen.

Mirror, Mirror...

All children struggle with body image issues at some point, even boys. But, it's an even more serious issue for girls, who may feel more societal or peer pressure to live up to what other people define as "beautiful." Even kids under the age of nine begin to look at body image, as they encounter it at school, in magazines, and on television. Eating disorders, low self-esteem, and depression are all linked to a poor body image. A desire for cosmetic surgery, smoking or other harmful practices may become your child's new normal as she matures into a teenager.

Loving the Reflection

As parents, there is actually a lot we can do to help our children develop a healthy body image. Here are some things you can implement in your home:

  • Set a good example. Moms often walk around undermining their own body image and complaining about particular body parts or the whole "package." Kids notice this type of behavior. Your child may end up repeating the same criticisms of her own body! If you feel good about the way you look, there is a better chance that your child will, too.
  • Help your child recognize her strengths and positive points. Try not to focus on anything negative; instead, focus on all that is good. Be sure to focus on her inner beauty as well, since it is longer lasting.
  • Pay attention to distorted images your child encounters that could impact how she feels about her own body, especially from sources such as the media, music videos, and fashion magazines.
  • Take the time to discuss beauty with your child, including images of beauty around the world, how beauty is subjective, and how advertisers use it to try to sell a product.

A Family Affair

Creating a positive body image for your child is really something the whole family can take part in. When the whole family is on board, everyone will begin to feel good about the way they look, which will have benefits for years to come!