Many young girls have problems developing a positive body image. Make sure your daughter has the self-esteem necessary to love what she looks like.
- Step 1: Reinforce a healthy self-image by talking about how bodies come in all shapes and sizes, and how many wonderful things they can do when healthy, from breathing to running and playing.
- Step 2: Model healthy behaviors and a positive self-image for your daughter by not putting yourself down, and maintaining a balanced diet and exercising regularly. Your satisfaction with yourself is the best model for your daughter.
- FACT: According to a 2008 survey, at least a quarter of Americans would consider having plastic surgery for cosmetic reasons if money were no object.
- TIP: If you think your daughter is unusually focused on her appearance, or is acting out behaviorally because she is suffering from a negative body image, seek help from a therapist or other professional.
- Step 3: Be understanding when your tween or teenager wants to express herself with fashion and different looks, but set appropriate boundaries.
- Step 4: Make sure your daughter's clothing, toys, and TV watching habits are age-appropriate. Exposing elementary-aged kids to sexually suggestive statements can be confusing and rush them into adulthood too soon.
- Step 5: Talk about the images in media and what they mean. Help them understand marketing messages and airbrushed magazine photos to see them for what they are.
- Step 6: Compliment your daughter often. Concentrate on her inner qualities, but don't neglect complimenting her looks. You want her to feel pretty, but also don't want her to think it's her most important asset.