Achieving and maintaining a positive body image can be difficult for young girls mostly because of the unrealistic media messages. We have some practical tips you can use to help your daughter feel good about herself and achieve a positive body image.
Handling media messages
1. Restrictions and boundaries
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, the recommended television time per day for children is two hours or less. By reducing television time and being selective about the programs your children can watch, you can decrease the influence of media on your daughter.
Restricting TV time will also allow your kids to spend their spare time on more productive activities.
2. Discuss famous women in the media
It is important to watch television with your children and discuss whether or not the actresses look like realistic examples of today’s beauty standards. Try comparing those who look natural with the celebrities whom have clearly had cosmetic surgery to reduce the effect of unrealistic expectations of beauty.
When reading a magazine explain to your daughter that the pictures most likely have been photoshopped to perfection and that the models really don’t look like that in their everyday life.
3. Discuss diversity in beauty
Make sure your children are aware that not all beautiful girls adhere to the Hollywood ideal of blonde and skinny. Try renting some foreign films and introduce cultural perspectives of beauty to your children.
In addition to this, expose your kids to paintings by artists like Reubens and Courbet who found the fuller figured models beautiful.
4. Diversify your daughter’s interests
Keep your daughter’s mind curious and active by encouraging her interest in beauty with other cultural and academic activities. For example, a foreign language or music lesson may promote her confidence and self-esteem.
Fashion rules and regulations
1. Avoid the SEX factor
Clothing for mostly teenage girls in the 21st century is much more sexualized and the kind of style previously reserved for adults. Try avoid this type of clothing, so your daughter can enjoy her childhood away from unwanted gazes.
2. Enforce a dress code
This will not make you popular, but enforcing guidelines to what is an acceptable outfit will help reduce any negative attention your daughter may receive.
It is important to explain why you are implementing a dress code and discuss the difference between positive and negative male attention.
3. Buy flattering clothing
Your teenager daughter’s fashion doesn’t need to be restricted and negative entirely. Instead of disagreeing consistently with her choices, go shopping with her and encourage her to find a personal style that flatters her features. Help her identify outfits that suit and flatter her body shape.
4. Buying the first bra
Buying your first bra is a milestone for every girl, so talk to your daughter about this. Some girls are uncomfortable about the topic, so be prepared to approach it when her body begins developing. The openness of the subject can be a great help in adjusting and accepting her changing body.
1. Encourage maintaining a healthy weight
Many young girls today suffer from an eating disorder, so approach any difficulty with weight carefully. Make sure that your daughter understands her health and well-being is important to you and you will help her in any way required. Cook a healthy meal together or, if necessary, volunteer to join a gym with her.
2. Promote her personal qualities
Young women today are pressured to value themselves based on their physical appearance. By focusing on your daughter’s inner strengths you will be able to help her value herself. Try complimenting her achievements and make her feel that these are more important than physical beauty.
3. Track her participation in sporting activities
Sporting activities can be a great outlet, however it is vital that the coach is positive and encourages her self-esteem rather than suppressing it. It is important that your daughter enjoy her sports without extra stress.
4. Promote equal positivity to all women
Your promotion of self-esteem and diversity in beauty will be more effective if you show a respect for women and girls in general. Avoid making discouraging or negative statements about family members or female celebrities. While the comment may seem trivial or funny, it can be meaningful and influential to a teenage girl.
5. Try therapy
Many girls accept their developing bodies, however if your daughter has serious difficulties with hers, she may need professional therapy. If your daughter shows signs of eating disorders it is recommended you seek professional help.
With these guidelines and support tips your daughter will achieve a healthy, positive body image.