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Parenting Positive Kids Parenting Positive Kids

Do you think parents should talk to their young girls about body image?

Posted by on Jun. 29, 2012 at 5:00 AM
  • 15 Replies

The World Favors Pretty Girls & Moms Need to Tell Their Daughters Now

Posted by Ericka Sóuter on June 27, 2012 

barbieWe've come a long way -- sort of. No matter what a woman accomplishes in life, one self-esteem obliterating thought will always pop into her mind: Am I pretty enough?

And it's a question we start asking ourselves way too early. Research says our body image is in the gutter a decade before we are even worried about who will ask us to the senior prom.

Miss Representation, along with SPARK, LoveSocial.org and I Am That Girl compiled a bunch of sad, if not exactly shocking facts about how young girls see themselves. Among them:

80% of 10-year-old American girls say they have been on a diet. They number one magic wish for your girls age 11-17 is to be thinner.

53% of 13-year-old girls are unhappy with their bodies. That number increases to 78% by age 17.

32% of teenage girls admit to starving themselves to lose weight.

Tragic but nothing new. These problems go back centuries, not decades. Every girl has felt fat one time in her life whether she was or not.

Of course the blame is always placed on the media. Airbrushed photos in fashion magazines and stick thin stars present an image most of us will never, ever get close to even though we desperately try. But I say parents are part of the problem too.

We need to be more upfront with our daughter. When they are little, we try to shield them, saying "It's what's inside that matters most." Yea, when you are five. But what about when they hit junior high? For most of their lives, our girls will be judged by what they look like. Yes, pretty, thin women have always had an advantage.  They have always gotten perks dowdy girls don't. 

Of course we should tell them it's wrong, but it's reality. At the same time, I say let's point out all the plastic surgery these stars have had. Tell our girls no one who eats a normal, healthy diet could ever look that way. But also reinforce that all that beauty means nothing without brains -- and a good heart too. This won't necessarily change the fact that girls will envy those A-list beauties, but at least early on they will know that the whole culture of beauty is unrealistic and unfair.

Do you think parents should talk to their young girls about body image?

by on Jun. 29, 2012 at 5:00 AM
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Replies (1-10):
Dereksmom1018
by on Jun. 29, 2012 at 5:01 AM
1 mom liked this

Yes, it needs to be talked about. I grew up with body image issues which turned into an eating disorder :(

MommyJDTJ
by on Jun. 29, 2012 at 6:55 AM
1 mom liked this
Yes i had anorexia when i was in 7th grade and my mom didn't notice until 10th grade. And then she didn't do anything but check my ribs every morning before school.

I was convinced i was fat when i was so little i had to buy little girls undies until i was 17. Now i am truely fat and wish i was little like when i thought i was fat. (still have issues)
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Delirium003
by on Jun. 29, 2012 at 8:11 AM
Yes, parents should. It's not just girls that need reassurance though. Boys do too. Admittedly maybe not as much.
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Meltopia529
by on Jun. 29, 2012 at 9:02 AM

 Yes! Not only young girls but boys as well.

06katc08
by on Jun. 29, 2012 at 9:09 AM
1 mom liked this
all children, boys and girls, should be talked 2 about body image. I had a horrible body image when i was a child. There wasnt one thing i liked about my body. And now that im a mom, i wish my mother had talked to me. It breaks my heart when i braid my 4 year old daughters hair, or paint her nails and she looks and me and says, "mommy am i pretty now?". I struggle every day to instill in her and my older son a positive body image, good self esteem, and a sense of self worth. It isnt easy but i am doing and will always do everything i can to keep them from hating their bodies and themselves the way i did as a child.
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Meltopia529
by on Jun. 29, 2012 at 9:12 AM
1 mom liked this

 I also want to include this link. It has tips for raising kids to have a positive body image.

http://babydustdiaries.com/2012/02/15-tips-for-raising-kids-with-a-positive-body-image/

We really need to stop this and start teaching our children to love themselves and not compare themselves to others. Love your children for who they are and not how they look.

chris13
by on Jun. 29, 2012 at 9:51 AM

 a friend was in a masters studies program at a local hospital that was working with kids with eating disorders. these kids are not teenagers they are only 8-12 years old. these body image issues are starting earlier then we even realize. one constant factor he noticed with these kids is a need for perfectionism. so kids that are perfectionist as young kids will have a higher tendencyfor body image issues.  teaching them they don't have to be perfect is step 1.

 this scared me because my own kids were so hard on themselves if they did not get something right academically, even to the point they would not answer for fear of being wrong. we had a great kindergarten teacher who taught my girls that getting the wrong answer was sometimes a  good thing. we also have a great soccer coach who keeps telling the girls that winning is not the goal, the goal was to have fun and winning was just more fun.

 

black.eyeliner
by on Jun. 29, 2012 at 9:56 AM
Yes. I talk to my girls and boys about this.
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SabrinaLC
by on Jun. 29, 2012 at 9:59 AM

It's important to teach our children about health


terri76
by on Jun. 29, 2012 at 11:05 AM
My thoughts exactly :)

Quoting Delirium003:

Yes, parents should. It's not just girls that need reassurance though. Boys do too. Admittedly maybe not as much.
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