Raising body positive kids:
Body positive kids could be the game changer. One of the most important tasks as a parent is to model and nurture healthy self esteem in our children. It does take a lot of time and care to help a child adopt the habit of body positivity. It won’t be an easy feat, and I must warn you to be ready to be bombarded with some tough questions that have extremely tough answers.
However to raise kids who believe in body positivity, we must work on it while they are still young.
Kids are very sensitive and we must be careful with what they hear or see around. We must always be available to feed their curiosity.
Here is how you can immunise your little ones against poor body image and raise Body positive kids:
1. Ban any kind of ‘Fat Talk’ in your family: Even if you casually complain about your body in front of your children, you could have a big impact on how your children would think about their body.
You must model a positive attitude towards your own body in front of the little ones.
It’s important to discuss health instead of weight.
2. Avoid any kind of stereotypes in the media: You must avoid TV shows or movies that have stereotypical, sexualised or gendered characters of story line. Instead look out for the ones that portray healthy body sizes.
You must pay attention to your child’s beliefs about body and gender types. Use simple language to debunk the stereotypes.
3. When you see stereotypes, call them out: Talk about gender stereotypes whenever you come across one on the media. Minimise the exposure to stereotypical depictions of women and men. Explain your child that images in the advertisements and magazines are changed by the computers to make people look taller or thinner, or to make their skin look flawless.
Make a game out of this- Spot the Photoshop! And let your child figure out how to differentiate between a fake and a real image. Explain to your child how the real image always connects with everyone instantly since beauty is all about being Real and confident.
4. Focus on talent, characters and behaviours instead of physical appearances or sizes: Whenever you discuss fictional characters, friends, family members or celebrities, you must talk about what they do, not how they look like.
You must talk about qualities such as curiosity, perseverance and kindness, and emphasis on these should be valued more than the appearance.
Prepare your child for when they come across others commenting, criticising or comparing appearances or bodies.
I personally have a role play with my girls where I prepare them how to react to such comparisons. Example- ” It doesn’t matter how he looks like. He is a friendly and caring person, and that is what is important”
5. Challenge any kind of assumptions: Watch out for kids expressing their assumptions about real people based on body sizes or appearances. You must remind your child that bodies come in all sizes and shapes. Let them know that variety is what makes life interesting, and that it’s healthy and normal.
Ask your child how she thinks someone would feel when criticised based on the appearance. You will be surprised to hear the reply.
Remember, your child looks up to you for these messages, so the more you feel positive about your body, the easier it would be for your child to internalise body positivity.
Self love is the KEY!
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