I’m passionate about raising my kids to love their bodies, to be confident, body positive and to know how truly beautiful they are inside and out.
A recent post I shared on facebook showed how many others are also passionate about this and how as parents we play such a major role in shaping our children’s thinking. It’s a hugely responsible role and probably not one I am going to get 100% right, but I’m going to try.
As a child I was brought up knowing I was 100% capable. I believed in myself and knew I could do something if I set my mind to it and put the work in. That has stuck with me. So therefore how we talk about our bodies and our childrens bodies will also stick with them.
Little comments stick. Whether it is commenting on a body part or the way you talk about clothes no longer fitting it counts. I had the luxury of a loving set of parents who didn’t talk much about diets and bodies (thanks parentals – you rock). However still other influences from close family friends and family members meant I had some phrases that stuck with me and undoubtedly shaped some of my views on myself. I’ve shaken those off now. Getting older has it’s perks 😉
So how should we be talking to our children? I’m no expert but here are my thoughts and those of my 7 year old – Miss K
- Always be positive about your body. If there are parts you are not keen on don’t make it into a big deal in front of your children.
- Talk to your children about body sizes and shapes. How we are all different and that is ok. How it is health that counts and not looks. How there is no ideal body shape and that many toys are not real-life. (BTW Barbies are not welcome in my house we have Lottie dolls instead).
- I love the phrase radical acceptance. All people are accepted at the size and shaoe they are. Look beyond to see the actual person, their character, their postives, their dreams and encourage that,
- Keep away from diets, intense exercise for weight loss purposes and weight loss aids/supplements in front of children, they will pick up on these things.
- Try not to weigh people in your house – is it really needed? The scales do not show much apart from a number. That number is affected by some many factors other than just what we eat. I have scales for work purposes and the children do play with them now and again but there is no judgement, just genuine interest.
- Focus on character and traits instead of physcial size/shape. Let your kids know what they are great at and how that is what defines them.
- Role model a good relationship with food. All foods are allowed, there is no good/bad. If your and food need some work, then perhaps now is the time to seek out help with that. Someone like myself who can support you and take you on a journey to improve your relationship and show your kids a great way forward.
I’d love to hear your thoughts too…