My 7 year old daughter came to me the other day to ask me if she was fat!?!?
My red alert immediately went off. I remember the summer that she sat by the pool watching her friends swim and would not get in the water because she was too embarrassed to put her swim suit on. She was only 5 yrs old at the time, and my heart ached every time I saw her worrying about issues that no kid should be concerned about. She refused to wear shorts, short sleeve shirts and flip flops, in the heat of the summer. She was the little girl sweating, and sitting by the sidelines while others carried on in a normal way. I finally figured out that the religious Nanny that was working at her father’s house had serious body image issues and would not expose much skin. I don’t think we can blame anyone for our own children’s behavior, but I think we have a HUGE responsibility to teach them a healthy way of thinking. Most little girls mirror Mommy, and I cannot begin to tell you how important our own body image is to our children. My daughter became embarrassed of her cute, little body because she was around someone who felt that way about herself. It was a sad experience, which took a lot of love and reassuring to pull her out of it. I finally had to insist on weather appropriate clothes, and take the focus off of her personal obsession. She grew out of it by summer’s end, but it was a tough one.
As women, we must love our bodies, at every size. If you are not feeling comfortable with yourself, then it is time to make a change because there is nothing worse than being insecure and it will rub off on your children. I try never to use words like “fat” or “skinny”. I enforce good eating habits so we can have a “healthy” body. Our children are so impressionable that we must be conscious of how we perceive ourselves. Our own insecurities could easily become theirs. Even if you’re not feeling great about yourself, fake it for your kids! And Do NOT obsess over your imperfections in the mirror in front of them.
My 2 yr old, going on 10 is obsessed with make-up. She has been watching me get ready for photo shoots and TV appearances since she was a baby. Often times she would be on my lap in the make-up chair while my Glam squad worked their magic. Every day now she asks me for lipstick and insists that her lips are dry, ALL DAY LONG!!! I repeatedly tell her that no one needs make-up, she is a naturally beautiful and that make-up is just fun for “sometimes”.
Confidence breeds freedom in our children. Giving them power to feel good about themselves will pay off big in the end. Kids should just be kids and not obsess with the pressures that society is putting on our outer-selves every day. I’m buried in that world, and I can assure you that I am more focused on what’s happening on the inside than the superficial layers. Beauty is a state of mind. Feeling beautiful on the inside will make you beautiful in many ways. Happiness and self-confidence are two of the most attractive qualities I know. Teaching our children how to feel good on the inside will make them beautiful people on the outside.