So in this world of air-brushed models, how do we raise girls with a healthy and positive body image? Karen Eddington, founder of “The Cauliflower Retreat” shares five things to consider.
1. Start with Yourself
In order to help a daughter, mothers should first evaluate how she feels about her own body and self esteem. It is very difficult to help someone when you feel low yourself. Mothers often get put very last and find themselves depleted and looking to exterior changing things to find a sense of identity. Mothers should go through the process to find self acceptance. If a mother is confident it will help her daughter to be confident.
2. Believe in Unseen Potential
Treat your daughter as the amazing woman she will become. Create a self fulfilling prophesy by building her up and telling her positive comments about her potential. If she hears something enough she will begin to believe it and become it. During the times you feel like she is not listening and doesn’t want your advice don’t give up. Those are the times she may need you the most. You may try sharing personalized notes in her backpack, or stuck to her bathroom mirror that share her positive traits. “I just wanted you to know you are great at art, you are fun to be around, I love the kindness I see in your eyes, and I am glad you are my daughter.
3. Create a Healthy Environment
What atmosphere is in your home? Think about ways you can make your home a safety zone from all of the bombarding messages. Get rid of or lessen the exposure to fashion magazines, scales in every bathroom, diet books, or diets pills. Focus on health verses “getting skinny”
4. Identify criticism
Take a step back a look at the conversations you have had with your daughter. Think about comments you have made in effort to be helpful but in turn may be making her feel unaccepted. You may be encouraging her to look her best by ironing her clothes, or to be healthy by not going overboard on the pizza. She may be interpreting that to mean my mom does not approve of me and my body. When you recognize what comments make your daughter feel attacked you can make the necessary changes to help her feel safe.
5. Celebrate Our Body for What it Can Do
Remember our bodies are what take us through life. We should be able to celebrate being able to dance, skip, jump or move verses feeling “fat.” We can learn to appreciate our health verses compare our body size to others. We can replace respect for our bodies instead of self loathing when we remember to focus on what our bodies do.
The Cauliflower Retreat is a non-profit organization that helps women and teens learn about self worth in interactive and accepting settings. The group’s purpose is to empower women to strengthen other women in realistic settings by helping them to find their purpose and great potential leading to a chain reaction of inspiration, hope, great endeavors, friendship, and zeal.
For more information about the program and workshops, visit: www.cauliflowerretreat.org