Changing environment, learning new language and new culture,being a wife and a mother, living far away from families and friends, I have come to share my views, thoughts, feelings, ideas on so many things that I cherish.

February 29, 2012

Children's Body Image / Self Confidence



It's no longer a news that so many people (especially women and young girls) are not happy with their look or body but what surprises me is the alarming increase of the number of children who are found in this category. I was shocked when I heard of a 3rd grader who always snicked out to the toilet to vomit any food she ate because she didn't want to be called fat (by her mother and friends) like her elder sister. It is sad to know that our society through advertising and the effects of unrealistic beauty standards has made young ones not to be proud of themselves forgetting that beauty comes in all sizes shapes and colours. Parents should be good role models to their kids. When mothers who do not feel good about themselves say negative things about their body/look in front of their kids, it sends a wrong message to them and they may grow up to believe that physical appearance is more important than one's inner beauty.   
It's the work of the parents to raise a happy and confident child. A mother with inferiority complex and a very low self esteem will definitely influence (to a great extent) her child negatively. I've heard mothers call their children all sorts of names or say some bad things about their body, hair, size, colour, etc. This is disheartening. Speak bad about your child, that will be the bitter truth she will grow up to believe about herself.

Parents can start as early as possible to teach their little babies/children how to appreciate their bodies. This can be done through bonding with the child right from the infant stage. Touching, stroking, kissing, hugging, cuddling, and telling them how beautiful and special they are. By doing these, you are teaching them happy and confident body language. Lack of acceptance of one's own body in the first two years of his life is thought to be a reason for low self esteem. Touch, stroke, hug, cuddle,etc , give and show love. It's the essence of life. It's the child's spring board to an emotionally balanced future. It holds baby's temperature stable and breathing rate constant. 

Parents must know how essential their ability to give love is to the child. All they need is for the channel to open. Let the gates of love open and waves of love fill their lives and they will grow up to have a very high self esteem, be confident in themselves, love and accept their body and know that beauty comes in all colours, shapes and sizes.


As a parent, how do you raise a confident child and how would you help your child  accept who he/she is? Please share your tips with us.

40 comments:

Karen said...

I think you are spot on. Besides showing your kids acceptance and affection, I think you also have to model the right way. I'm not stick thin, but my girls see me eat right, exercise, and dress modestly every day. I hope they will see a mom who is confident and takes care of herself and want to choose that instead of the magazine cover.

Angi said...

Society really needs to change but it starts at home. We need to show young girls it is not all about being skin and bones.

As Told By Lisa said...

I like your point about loving on your children during the 1st two years. I think breastfeeding is such and important part of a babies development because of the cuddling and connecting that takes place.

Stopping by from the 100 Comments event.

http://www.AsToldByLisa.com

Elizabeth said...

What a great post. I agree that it is a parent's job to build up their child. I've always felt I should be my child's biggest cheerleader. Thanks for all of your great insights.

Discovering the Me in Mommy said...

The role of parents truly is critical. We need to make sure our child know and understand the truth!

Faith and Family Reviews said...

Good thoughts, but sometimes no matter what you do, the world around us has more influence than even a careful mother's upbringing and love.

dawn said...

What a good subject to bring to readers attention. How sad that parents contribute to a child's negative feeling about body image.

Beloved said...

Hey, Nekky! Great post. When I was carrying my first, I read an article about girls as young as 2 talking about dieting and body image, and it scared me straight. Although I never thought I had issues, we've been deliberate about healthy eating, healthy living, and loving what you are. This is an important message.
Peace and good.

Mandy said...

This is a good subject to bring to the attention of others. It's terrible that parents themselves feel they need to influence negatively in a child's life. Healthy eating habits are great but don't make the child feel terrible about the way they look. I thought the point was to teach them to love themselves as they are. What a shame.

Deanna crazed said...

I have a very sarcastic sense of humor, but I always make sure not to joke about anything regarding my kids that could hurt their feelings or bring down their self esteem.

When I was a teenager, my mom made a comment about my boobs being small. I never thought of them as small until then, and now, in my 30s, I'm still self conscious about them!

Deborah Owen said...

Parents can cripple their children all their lives. Are they really that insensitive? Or are they acting out the pain within? Maybe they don't know how to do anything else but pass on the pain they feel. I was raised to believe that I could never be more than a secretary. Thank God that isn't true. Deb

janis meredith said...

A good self-image is so important for kids...I see it affect so many teens and older in negative ways when they are not comfortable with themselves.

Painting Intimate Moments of Motherhood said...

thanks for this post! I don't think we should smother our children with complements and praise over how they look as they will not receive this out in the real world ~ but I agree: modeling food behaviors and choices, exercise & self-confidence. I also talk with my kids daily about how we should not take the comments of others personally. :)

Lisa Ng said...

Great post. It's one thing to make sure our kids and ourselves eat healthy, it's another to treat food with contempt, which is what I used to do. I completely agree that parents who have negative body images certainly pass that on to their children. I will try to remain positive and work on my self image. If I want to change something, I hope I show myself being active about changing it -- eating healthy, working out, etc. By example I think is the best way to get through to them effectively.

WomenAreGamechangers said...

YOu are so right about parents can make or break a kid's self-esteem. As a former teacher, I would hear such vile remarks about kids made by their own parents. I can't believe you have heard of a 3rd grader who is bulimic. So sad. Soceity has made appearances a big deal when in the scope of life, they should be the last thing on your mind.

Pamela said...

We as parents are the first ones to help build our children self confidence and esteem. We should teach them to love the body they are in. If we put them down, who is to uplift them and love on them?

Thanks for this great post!
Pamela
Still Dating My Spouse
http://www.stilldatingmyspouse.com

Visiting from the 100 comment blog hop.

Amanda @ Ninth Street Notions said...

I'm not a parent, but these are great tips.

Dakotapam said...

Good tips! I make sure I tell my kids every day that they are loved and treasured by their family and by God!

Shelly said...

Words from our parents are definitely a huge part of our self-confidence {or lack thereof!}. Even at 30 years old I often think back to things my parents said, and also the example they lived before me. It influenced me then, and still does today!

Shopping Tips And Tricks said...

Your article is "spot on". I think the world tells our kids the wrong ideas about body images and I agree that we can help them by giving them love and affecting and affirmation.

Nichole @ readitagainmama said...

Great post. I hope to raise my three boys with confidence. I may not have to worry about the barbie models but I still want them to see that they were created by God and that is perfect. But I also want them to know that is important to take care of their bodies.

corine@allthingsgoodandwise said...

Good points. Totally agree. Visiting from 100 comment event.

JulieK said...

It is unfortunate that our society is inundating kids with the message that they need to LOOK a certain way to be accepted or feel self worth. At the same time, our FOODS are loaded with fats, sugars, artificial sweeteners and dyes that harm our children's growing bodies and add to the difficulty of them getting to a healthy weight.
But what REALLY makes me sad is when family members are cruel about body weight and image - that just should NEVER happen. :(

ashley@proverbsliving.com said...

I try my hardest to build up my boys. They are extremely sensitive to my interaction with them and if I say words that are negative, ultimately, tearing them down then I am creating a negative self-image. It is a struggle to be consistent, but when I do say positive things they take notice! Their face lights up and their entire body seems to stand a little taller.

RuralMama said...

Wow, great article and wonderful information! I agree with this, girls today just don't have the self confidence that they should! I try to be as affectionate and encouraging to my girls as possible. They are both under three so it will be a while before they start having issues with their body, but I will try to help them be as comfortable in their own skin as possible. I remember my mom making comments about my weight in high school and I can tell you that it NEVER helped any. I finally lost weight for ME and because I wanted to feel and look better for ME and no one else. Thanks again for the information!

Colette said...

This is too true. Of course, now you have people going to the other extreme what with 2 different women gorging themselves on junk to claim the fattest woman world record. And both women had children watching them do this to themselves. It's just disgraceful!

Tanya said...

I agree that is our job to teach our kids that they are beautiful just as they are! I have two teenagers that I am trying to do this with.

Single Gal said...

You have some good points in here, but I think it's important to realize that sometimes now matter how well cared for someone is they may still struggle with body image issues.

Cambria said...

This is so important. Mom's need to be positive about their children AND themselves. It's important to teach children when they are very young that they are children of God and very special!

Mona said...

This is so important! We try to make sure our kids understand healthy eating and we always tell them we love them no matter what!

Vivian said...

I absolutely agree with you! Parents are such important role models...if a mom has a negative feeling about herself, she will almost always pass this along to her children, expecially daughters.
Love your post!
Here from 100 comment event...hope you visit my blog: www.viviankirkfield.wordpress.com

Couponista Queen said...

I have always had some body issues, but as I have gotten older they have become less important than who I am inside. Society will always put women into whatever category is important at the time. It is our job to teach our daughters that self-worth is not measured by the appearance in a mirror.

junebug said...

I'm terrible about not liking my own appearance. I would never be disparaging to my daughter about hers because I know how I was made to feel about my own body. However, I realize she will, also, take the clues from how I feel so I'm working really hard to watch the language I use even describing my own body. She is going to get enough negative from society -> she sure doesn't need it from me.

Christy Kramer said...

Great post! It's so sad to me to think that people see themselves as "fat" even if they weight 100 lbs. I just can't wrap my head around it. My daughter is in dance and I make sure that I pay attention since I know that there can be body image issues in that field. Fortunately it has not been an issue with the girls as of yet. THere was one girl a couple of years ago who had anorexia/bulemia and ended up hospitalized for a very long time. I think that really had an impact on the rest of the girls and taught them a big lesson. I made sure i opened up a dialogue with my daughter about it and I think it helped.

Christy
www.alivinghomeschool.com

isis said...

I think spending quality time with them will definitely give them self confidence because they see and feel that they are loved.

Single Girl Approved said...

Great post! It was sad to read this since I know I struggled even as a child with body image. Society and media have hurt all of us especially our children.

stacy said...

You are so right. I see it younger and younger. Sometimes parents don't think the things they say to their children affect them. It's our jb as parents to build them up as much as possible because they are going to be hit by so much negativity out there in the world.

Tami @ This Mom's Delight said...

Be sure to compliment your child on his or her character strengths (good deed, kind word, etc.) rather than their appearance or physical abilities.

Piece of advice from my pastor!

ATLanta Saving Moms said...

we as parents need to continue and promote love, peace, and health to our children. Thanks for a great article. :)

Jean said...

Great blog Nekky!! Having a positive body image is so important. If a child loves themselves just the way they are, then they won't feel the need or pressure to conform to the media's unreal expectations and you'll have a happier and more well adjusted kid because of it!! Great post!

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