“Don’t tell your daughter she is beautiful” says Jo Swinson – a female Minister in the UK.
She would prefer children be praised for “completing tasks or their ability to be inquisitive” rather than “for wearing a nice outfit” as she believes this is sending the message to children “that looks are the most important thing to succeed in life.” http://tinyurl.com/mywkjbn
Body Image is one of my favourite topics. I agree with Jo that looks aren’t the only attribute in making a person successful. However I must say I don’t agree with the idea of not telling our children “they look great”. If they don’t hear this message from their Mum (and Dad) they will search for it elsewhere and this can prove dangerous and unhealthy.
It’s important to help our children foster a positive self / body image. Help them to love who they are and to embrace their body shape and size, their colouring and height and to respect others in the same way. Our children will then be able to accept and celebrate difference, and to not be afraid of difference.
Communicate; talk about the body. As Mums we all have the “bits” we would like to change with our body, so be mindful how we talk about this issue. Be careful not to focus on your imperfections in a negative way. Instead talk positively about how you are going to work on the “problem” or how you are going to live with it. Be tactful…and honour your boys and girls. Try to not openly criticize or belittle them, or other people, this can foster negative body image opinions.
Keep everything in balance; give praise where it’s due in every area of your child’s life. This will help create well rounded confident young people.
I believe the greatest gift we can give our kids is the gift of self love and acceptance. When they are able to love who they are, they can then love and accept others.
In the article Ms Swinson was described as not having children. I wonder if she ever has a son or daughter and they ask her “how do I look?” How she will respond…
Of course, what we wear and how we look is only one part of the whole that makes you, you and me, me. Therefore, when we put all our energy into this one small part we miss out on a richer and bigger story that is who we are.
C. Pinkola Estes writes in Women Who Run With the Wolves.
Harsh judgements about body acceptability create a nation of hunched-over tall girls, short women on stilts, women of size dressed as though in mourning, very slender women trying to puff out like adders, and various other women in hiding.
Destroying a woman’s instinctive affiliation with her natural body cheats her of confidence. It causes her to worry about whether she is a good person or not, and bases her self-worth on how she looks instead of who she is.