Learn to love your body to boost your daughter’s self-confidence
If you want your daughter to grow up with a healthy body image, there’s one, simple thing you can do – love yourself. Use our thoughtful action checklist, created by psychotherapist and women’s campaigner Dr Susie Orbach, to address body image issues – both yours and hers.
Self-criticism is common among teenage girls – how often have you urged your daughter not to put herself down? But sometimes we mums have low self-esteem too, so you could be subconsciously teaching her bad habits.
Do you ever catch your reflection and frown, or moan about how you look? You may not even realise you're doing it, but your daughter probably will.
Positive body image starts with self-love
Up to 80% of women are unhappy with what they see in the mirror, according to the Mirror, Mirror report published by the Social Issues Research Centre. Worryingly, a recent review by the Centre for Appearance Research shows mothers who are dissatisfied with their bodies are more likely to have daughters with body dissatisfaction.
It's not easy to change the way you see yourself, but a few techniques can help you feel better about your body – and your daughter will pick up on your positivity.
Take action to love your body
Feeling better about yourself from the inside will help build your positive body confidence – one of the most important steps to helping your daughter build her own.
Use Dr Susie Orbach's checklist below to help you and your daughter develop a more positive relationship with your bodies. Small changes can help adjust how you see yourself, and set your daughter up for a body-confident future.
Encourage your girl to:
- Be true to herself. When she stops trying to please the ‘popular’ crowd and instead starts pleasing herself, she'll develop a strong sense of self-worth
- Celebrate individuality with friends. Ask her what makes each of her friends unique, then brainstorm ways they can celebrate their individual traits
- Be proud of who she is, without changing a thing. If she wants to make lots of friends, suggest she joins a club or shares her talents with like-minded people. She won't make true friends by wearing the ‘right’ clothes or changing who she is
- Find her own sense of style. Teenagers often love experimenting with fashion, but may feel pressured to imitate others. Support her as she plays with her appearance and finds her own identity