Posted: May 16, 2012 8:00 AM
 
As moms, most of us have at least one or two things about our bodies we aren’t crazy about. Whether it’s those extra few pounds of baby weight we still carry years later or the wrinkles on our faces, how we approach these issues carries weight with our teen girls. Here are five ways to change your message.

Fitness, not fatness

Healthy bodies come in all shapes and sizes. Unfortunately, the message our daughters often get is that the best body is a slim body. By consistently discussing the size or shape of your body in a negative way you support this message. Talk about how much stronger your legs are since you started walking the dog, rather than the size of your thighs. Sign up for a local 5K run/walk or set a new fitness goal. Focus on what your body can do instead of how it looks.

Feed your body, not your issues

Your day has quickly morphed from bad to worse and the first thing you reach for is ice cream and potato chips. If food is your favorite coping mechanism, you probably offer food to your daughter when she's had a bad day. Break that pattern by finding a new mood changer that works for both of you. Take a walk, have a heart-to-heart or watch a favorite funny television show.

Diet is a four-letter word

If you are in a constant state of starting a new diet, cheating on your diet or planning your next diet, the message your daughter hears is that dieting is a way of life. In an article about positive body image Margarita Tartakovsky, M.S. said, "Moms who were concerned about their weight were more likely to have daughters who were concerned about their bodies." Focus your efforts on healthier eating habits and ban the word diet from your vocabulary.

Clothes-minded

How many times have you asked, "Does this make me look fat?" We have a love/hate relationship with the contents of our closets. Clothes should make you feel confident and comfortable, no matter what your size. If you gain a few pounds, don't tell people you are wearing your fat clothes. Make clothes fun again by finding choices that suit your shape and style, even if you truly hope to lose some weight.

Don't compare

Wishing you had Jennifer Aniston's legs or your neighbor's flat abs tells your daughter that life would be better if only you looked like someone else. Why encourage her to compare her body to others, when she can learn to celebrate her own?

Challenge^ Change the way you think about your body and help your daughter gain a better body image at the same time.

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Ellen Albertson June 27, 2012
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Thanks, Sherri for a great article. Mom's have a huge impact on their daughter's body image. For women who are interested in boosting their body image you may be interested in a study I'm conducting on body image and meditation. For info or to participate please visit: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/meditationwomenshealth
Sherri Kuhn May 16, 2012
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Even though I wrote this article with teen girls in mind, even the elementary school crowd is already too fixated on how their bodies "look" to others.