Have you ever said this in front of your daughter?
Just recently, Yahoo Health surveyed 1,993 individuals aged 13 to 64 about body image. And, what the researchers found says a lot about us as a society and our conceptions of what makes a person beautiful.
Results of the survey showed that, on average, Americans first felt ashamed of their bodies between 13 and 14 years old. It seems that number has gotten lower and lower for each generation, however, as the teens who participated in the survey reported that they first felt ashamed of their bodies around 9 and 10 years old.
Comments from classmates or friends were responsible for 60% of the respondents’ first encounter with body shame. 30% said it came from seeing a photo of themselves and 28% said it happened by comparing their own bodies to someone else’s or by trying on clothes.
Most often, media and friends were the biggest influencers for body shame. Although, alarmingly, 1 in 4 of the respondents said their parents contributed to their body shame. The survey also noted that children of parents who were body shamers either grew up to be more sensitive and receptive to body shaming; or were more resilient against it and twice as likely to be body-positive.
“The younger kids are getting messages earlier about how they should appear,” Robyn Silverman, an author who writes about weight and body shame, told Yahoo Parenting. Media, she said, is putting heavy emphasis on looks and beauty. “Kids feel more hurried to behave [older] and wear adult fashions, and feel that their body needs to look a certain way. All those things taken together are creating a more self-conscious society.”
How do you raise your child so she develops a positive body image? Contributing author Andrea Herrera shared a few tips in an article on Smart Parenting. First, it may seem obvious enough but it has to be said: You should avoid criticizing your own body, your child’s body or anybody else’s, including people portrayed by the media. Don’t obsess over losing weight or talking about being on a weight loss diet either.
Compliment on what your child’s body can do and not on how it looks. Compliment her on how fast she can run or how strong she is.
And, of course, discuss with your child. “It is not unusual to encounter some people or forms of media that make fun of how other people look,” said Herrera. “Whenever your child encounters these, turn them into opportunities for you to talk to your child about how it is more important to have a healthy body and to feel good about her body without basing it on any particular weight or body type.”
Source: Jan. 12, 2015. "The Age Girls Become Self-Conscious About Their Bodies". yahoo.com