Today's post is brought to us by Pure Beauty Contributor Marty Oltmans. Marty is a mama to two precious little girls and a blogger with a passion for helping women embrace the joys and challenges of motherhood right where they are. You can follow along with her adventures over on her blog, Dear Mama.
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Want A Confident Daughter? Help Her Have a Positive Body Image
5 Ways to Foster a Confident Daughter
Do you remember those awkward middle school days? Oh what a time! I would often times find myself looking in the mirror and hating just about everything I saw. My hair was too frizzy, my skin was too dark, my eyebrows were misshapen, my legs too hairy, my boobs too small, and on and on. Children as young as elementary age are struggling with body image and eating disorders. I definitely want to empower my daughters to avoid what I went through at such a young age and celebrate the way they were created. They are so uniquely and wonderfully made and I want them to embrace that. In order for them to embrace who they are, I have to start the training right here in my own home. The media, their peers, and even our daughters will tear down their confidence, but I am going to fight to build them up. Here are 5 ways to promote a positive body image in our daughters:
1 Embrace your own body: Your body has conquered so much, so why should you be embarrassed by the battle scars that its journey has left behind? This may sound weird, but I let my two-year-old daughter watch me undress in the morning while I get ready. All the images she is surrounded by show scantly clothed women bearing all, and I want to show her what a real woman's body looks like. I want her to be familiar with how her mama’s body looks because that will shape how she views all other women’s bodies, including herself. Sometimes she asks questions and other times she just glances as I walk by. Give her the opportunity to have a normal standard of a woman's body by letting her see yours.
2 Buy books that promote positive body image: You probably already know that studies show the importance of reading to your children, so why not use that to also encourage positive body image? There are TONS of books on this subject. My toddler loves I Like Myself, Stand Tall Molly Lou Mellon, and When God Made You. All of these books celebrate our differences and teach children self-confidence in who they are. It's pretty common for my daughter to go around saying “I like self mommy!” after reading these books. It's that powerful!
3 Celebrate your child's features: You know how every mom thinks their child is the cutest? Well it's true! Our mama eyes allow us to see our babies in such a unique way. Take a moment and think about what you love about your daughter’s image. For me, I love the way my toddler’s hair curls at the very ends of her hair or how my baby’s eyes smile when someone walks in the room. Whatever it is in your child, tell them. Make it a point to share what you love about them so that within their own home they are building the confidence they need to face the world. You never know if they will one day struggle with how they view their hair or eyes, so pour into them as much as you can.
4 Enjoy Feeling Feminine (With or Without Makeup): This use to be such a struggle for me! I always felt pretty without makeup but had felt pressure for years to never leave my house without it. Women are indeed still beautiful without it. I will never forget seeing my babysitter for the first time without makeup as a kid. She opened the door and I literally said, “What’s wrong with your face?” In that moment, I started to believe that you HAD to wear makeup in order to be beautiful. That’s why it is so important to help cultivate a child’s perspective of beauty that is not dependent upon anything other than how they were made. When I do wear makeup it is a big production and my daughter LOVES to watch. Learn to have a healthy balance between the two…for your daughter’s sake and your own.
5 Accept compliments: This will be your hardest task. I have no idea why mamas are so willingly to give of ourselves yet we lack the skill necessary to just accept a compliment. I mean, when anyone gives me a compliment I automatically talk about everything else except for the compliment being given. If someone says "that dress looks really good on you", I start talking about the great deal I got on the dress. Or if someone says “you look like you lost weight”, I jokingly thank breastfeeding. Learn to just say thank you and embrace the love that is poured into that compliment. We need these compliments to pour deep into us. If we are confident mamas then we can help guide confident daughters.
Now all this to say, don't feel all the pressure in the world to make sure your daughter has a great body image. Trust me...I know some of you mamas have already established a detailed plan on how to excel at this, but that's not the point. We want to foster positive thinking in our daughters so that when they walk out of our home they are built up and encouraged in who they are. We are raising future world changers and I want to equip them with all the confidence they need to embrace who they are made to be.