Raising Girls in a Body Focused Society
Teaching Our Daughters That Beauty is Not the Most Important Thing
Perfect, airbrushed, fake bodies are plastered all over our society. The emphasis on sexuality and showing off as much as you can, seem to be a recurrent theme among not only teens and adolescents, but adults too. Trying to obtain a perfect figure is not only impossible (thanks Eve!) but also fluid as the idea of what perfect is seems to evolve with the times.
Raising daughters in this world is no easy task. How do we, as moms help them to appreciate the body God gave them? Role modeling what true beauty is, but not undervaluing the importance of exercise and taking care of ourselves. I find it to be a daily struggle myself, not loving or hating my body based on what the scale says that day.
As moms (and dads too) we can show our daughters their value, apart from how they look, by not focusing our compliments on their looks alone.
How easy is it to say “you look cute today”, but not really praise them when they ask a great question, or do something kind for someone else? The body compliments are so easy, especially as women because that is what we are used to. Growing up and even as an adult the easiest way to make a friend is to compliment a woman’s hair, her clothes, her skin, anything.
Exercise should be a part of our daughters lives, whether its a sport they like to play, or something they do to burn off stress, it should be present. We want our kids to be healthy, to have good physical bodies but for the reason of health, not self worth. So much of how we view things, is how our children view them as well. If you make a point of talking about your flaws and things you want to change about your own body, she will likely do the same.
With my own three daughters I have tried to not belittle my own body in front of them, and I’ve made it a point to want them to see me run, go the the gym, be active. I have never wanted to be a chubby mom. A stereotypical mom who has no time for herself and just physically gives up trying.
Who we are, what we value and how to do life is exactly what they will model going forward.
Teaching our daughters to appreciate the body God gave them, and to understand where their value lies is something we have to do. Not the school, not their friends, not social media….just us, the parents. Compliment your daughter for how smart she is, for how kind she is, and tell her when she looks nice but don’t make her looks the focus of your compliments, or else she will grow up to think that being pretty is all she has to offer the world.