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I remember when I was growing up, I quickly noticed that girls come in all different shapes + sizes. I was always kind of tall + skinny but at the same time I had thick thighs + a big bootie. I yearned to be petite, short + tiny like some of the girls I knew.
I guess you always want to be different than you are but your daughter (+ my daughters) shouldn’t have to feel that way. What really jarred me were the results of a study by the Girl Scouts of America that found 80% of 10-year-old girls (TEN YEARS OLD) were afraid of getting fat.
This is mind boggling! Ten-year-old girls should not have this worry on their minds!
Discover 7 ways you can help your daughter love her body + feel comfortable in her own skin — whatever shape, color or size her skin is.
1. Read Books With Strong Girl Characters
Coincidentally, my oldest daughter came home from school with the library book, I Like Myself! by Karen Beaumont. I cannot say how much I LOVE this book!
The character in this book is a little girl that is the perfect role model for other young girls. No matter where this little girl goes in the book or what situations she finds herself, she continuously reiterates that she is special because she says, “I am me!”
This is just one of many books you can read with your young daughter that helps with self-esteem + body image.
Some other books you can read with your young daughters are:
Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls combines the world of make believe with reality. Each story is about a true strong woman but is told as a fairtytale. This is a lead by example book for raising strong girls.
The book includes 100 stories illustrating the lives of extraordinary women with the likes of Amelia Earhart, Jane Austen, Coco Chanel, Cleopatra + Marie Curie. The illustrators of the book are 60 women. Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls is a book for girls written about girls (past + present) by girls + illustrated by girls.
It is a bit more for younger girls than it is for adolescent or teenage girls. Much like the fairytales from Disney, the book has engaging stories while teaching life lessons. It is the perfect book for bedtime stories.
You know what they say that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. So true. What is pretty to me may not be pretty to you. What is pretty to you may not be pretty to me.
Strong is the New Pretty is a photo book that depicts girls just being themselves in all sorts of different outfits + situations. It debunks the myth that girls have to look or act a certain way to be pretty, to be accepted or to be liked.
The 175 photographs depict that raising strong girls is all about fostering the beauty that is on the inside + that what is beautiful on the outside is a strong + confident girl.
Raising strong girls is not for the faint of heart. It’s a tough process but you don’t have to go it alone. There are numerous resources available to you, Mama, so you can raise strong + confident girls that are going to do great things for this world.
2. Model Positive Body Image
Choose your words carefully when you’re talking about your own body to + in front of your daughter. Avoiding saying negative things about your body, like how you look fat or you wish you were thinner or prettier.
Instead of focusing on the negative or parts of your body you dislike, point out at least one positive thing about you or your body. Say things like, “My eyes are always bright + sparkly,” or “My nails always grow long + strong.”
Whatever part you’re talking about, put a positive spin on it rather than a negative one.
3. Acknowledge Her Feelings
Your daughter has a right to feel a certain way about her body. Acknowledge her feelings about the fact that she doesn’t like her curly hair or wishes she had longer, thinner legs. Let her know that she has a right to feel this way.
Tell her that there are things you didn’t like about your own body growing up but that it is not something that defines who you are or who she is as a person. This reveals to her that you survived into adulthood in spite of not liking something about your own body growing up + she will too.
4. Compliment Other Attributes
Looks are not everything. Mom + Dad should point out positive attributes their daughter has that has nothing to do with her looks. Practice positive daily affirmations by saying things like:
“You are a great artist.”
“You are the kindest girl I know.”
“You are a good friend.”
“You kick a soccer ball farther than anyone else I’ve seen.”
I tell all three of my daughters on a regular basis that they are smart, pretty, kind + funny. While pretty seems like a physical attribute, to me, pretty truly is something that is on the inside + out.
5. Accept Compliments With Grace
When someone compliments something about your appearance, avoid negative comebacks. Instead, gracefully accept the compliment + thank them.
If your friend says, “Your skin is glowing + you look great today,” don’t say, “Really? I feel like a cow in this outfit.” You want to focus on the positive instead of focusing on the negative.
6. Introduce Them To Other Positive Female Role Models
Avoid allowing your daughter to watch TV shows, look at magazine articles or follow celebrities online that are overly sexual with the way they dress, act, or the things they say.
Think Doc McStuffins or Taylor Swift as opposed to Keeping Up With the Kardashians or Teen Mom. If your daughter is watching something that focuses on how someone looks, point out that the characters (or real people) seem to be obsessed with how they look + how that is sad + that they should be concerned with how she thinks + acts.
7. Put On A Bathing Suit
This probably sounds so trivial but moms across the county (+ maybe even the world) are avoiding getting in a bathing suit because they don’t like the way they look in it. Instead of telling your daughter she shouldn’t be worried about how her body looks, show her.
Put on your bathing suit. Head to the pool. Lay on the beach. Frolic in the water. Show your kids that your body might not be perfect but you’re having fun it your own skin anyway!