Does your child hate their own body and struggles with self-esteem issues? Here are 10 effective ways you can help them learn to be more body positive and love themselves!
If you notice that your child lacks confidence, constantly talks negatively about her own looks and is always envious of other people's physical appearances, then it's time you help teach her how to be body positive.
Influence from media exposure (TV shows, fashion magazines, celebrities, etc) could be sending her unhealthy and distorted messages about what the "perfect body" looks like and what is deemed as beautiful.
So how can you as a parent teach your child to love herself and be more body positive?
1. Fat is not a dirty word
Imagine turning up at a family reunion dinner and your great-aunt loudly exclaims that you've gained a lot of weight since the last time you met, while your relatives sit there nodding their heads in agreement.
Why does this automatically feel like a stinging insult which makes you silently stew in humiliation as you use a fork to angrily stab at your dinner because you've lost your appetite?
When exactly did "fat" become a four-lettered word? Probably when people seem to use it as a derogatory remark towards someone to intentionally hurt them.
So even if others are using such terms as a way to cause offence, empower your child to let negative comments roll off her back and also ignore such small-minded individuals.
But at the same time, also remind her that some people genuinely might not have even meant it as an insult, so she should try not to take it to heart.
Teach your child that there's nothing wrong with being fat or thin, short or tall, dark-skinned or pale, because you love her just the way she is and she should too!
2. Be comfortable in your own skin
Are you guilty of looking in the mirror and muttering to yourself that you're "so old and fat now" as you poke your belly rolls, or how much you "hate your big nose" as you pinch it with your fingers?
You might not realise this but such negative comments about your physical appearance can influence your child's self-concept of body-related issues.
Your child looks up to you and learns a lot from you, so be mindful of what you are teaching her, even if you don't realise she's listening in to what you're saying or observing your actions.
How can you encourage your little one to love her own body if you're not comfortable with yours?
Remember that your child gets her looks from you and your partner, so by putting yourselves down, in a way you are also making her question her own appearance.
For your child to become body positive, you need to lead by example and embrace everything about yourself -- body hair, large feet, love handles and all!
3. Spot the Photoshop!
Are you amazed (or shocked) at the makeup skills of the average 16 year old nowadays?
Back when you were their age, you had no clue what contouring was or how to get your eyebrows on fleek!
But these picture-perfect girls and bronzed up muscular guys with heavy filters on Instagram, air-brushed models in fashion magazines, and gorgeous celebrities who have their own personal makeup artist and hair-stylist will most likely give your child unhealthy expectations of how she is supposed to look in order to be deemed attractive in the eyes of society.
The media also influences our perceptions of body image and beauty, so it is important that you point out the subtle (or sometimes very obvious!) photoshopped images of models and celebrities in the limelight to help your child understand the reality behind these seemingly perfect bodies.
Go to the next page for other effective ways to teach your child to be body positive