Note: Stay tuned for next week’s post focusing on being a boy
On one of our recent family walks my barely three-year old daughter declared “I want to ride the girl bike!” The girl bike? Of course I knew what she meant…the pink and sparkle encrusted tricycle adorned with the image of Barbie® parked in the garage. But who told her it was a girl bike? It’s not like I’ve sat down with her and explained the nuances between color hues and gender identification. Where did she learn this? Where was this message coming from?
Friends, family, fashion and the media all influence the way that girls view themselves and their bodies. Everyday interactions with the world reinforce what it means to be a girl. These standards are set from a very early age. Girls are surrounded by messages of what it means to be a girl that are unrealistic and unattainable. By the time a girl turns 14 there is a 50% chance that she will have already found her inner beauty critic.
Tips for Boosting Girls Body Image & Self Esteem:
- Be a role model. Family is one of the largest influencer for girls when it comes to their body image. Use the power of your influence by role modeling healthy behaviours and being mindful of your own inner beauty critic.
- Go up against negative media messages. Instead of trying to shield your daughter from the media discuss with her how images are manipulated. Also draw attention to girls/women with healthy body images, and that are focused on achievements and not just looks.
- Focus on the accomplishments. Look for opportunities to praise your daughter for what she achieves rather than focusing on her external beauty. Try praising your daughter for her effort (descriptive praise) versus the end result.
- Promote physical activity. Physical activity helps to improve self confidence
- Encourage healthy eating. Offer healthy foods and snacks and focus on healthy eating habits
Instead of allowing the world around us teach our daughters what it means to be a girl, parents and caregivers can take proactive and protective steps to help boost their daughter’s self esteem and show girls that they don’t always have to be ‘pretty in pink’.
Don’t forget to read next week to get the boy’s side of the story 🙂
Share your experience:
For more information about promoting a positive body image or to share your own experiences parenting a daughter, please connect with us by:
- Leaving us a comment below – we’d love your feedback
- Talking to us on Twitter: @haltonparents
- Emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Dialing 311 or 905-825-6000 for parenting information or to speak directly to a Public Health Nurse every Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
About this guest blogger:
Angela De Maria, BScN, RN, is a Public Health Nurse on the Elementary School Team and works with schools in Burlington. She is a wife and mother to 2 under 4. At home she practises her parenting skills as a short-order cook, human jungle gym and toy room mediator.