Teach Your Kids to Love their Bodies

Your kids look up to you and emulate your own habits. That means that whatever lifestyle you live, whether you smoke, eat healthy, watch too much TV or even complain about your appearance, your kids will likely grow up doing the same. 

Body image is how a person sees herself in the mirror, or the image of herself in her own head. It deals with what she believes, remembers, assumes and feels about her appearance and body. Adults and children can have either positive or negative body images. A negative image is distorted, causing a child to feel ashamed, embarrassed, or self-conscious about how they look. These feelings can lead to more serious problems, such as depression, anxiety, isolation or even eating disorders. 

You can help your children enhance their own body image by starting with your own. Your children will see how you view your own body in a positive light and learn to do the same. Here are some ideas to get you started:
  • Stop picking yourself apart. Look at your body as a whole and appreciate all the positive attributes you have instead of focusing on the negative parts that you're unhappy with. 

  • Consider the marvelous functions of your body. There are millions of microscopic functions that go on in our bodies every day, and you don't even have to think about them. They just happen! How much time are you spending each day worrying about your weight, your body shape, the size of your rear? Maybe you're supposed to be the first female president, but you'll never know because you're too busy obsessing about your abs! 

  • Get real. Did you know that most of the images you see on television, movies and magazines aren't even real? A model for a magazine cover goes through hours of professional hair and make-up, top photographers, and professional lighting, and that's all before the chosen photo goes to a company where they remove stray hairs, wrinkles, blemishes and "extra" curves. Find real role models who emulate the qualities you desire. 

  • Change your inner dialogue. Don't speak to yourself in a negative way if you wouldn't speak to your friends, mother, or children that way. Choose to believe that you are worth taking care of and that you have the right to be respected and treated with dignity. 

  • Take care of your body. Diets, pills, quick-fixes, binging, not exercising, over-exercising--all these things disrespect one of the greatest gifts you have been given--your body! You only get one per lifetime, so give it the respect it deserves. You will not only feel better, but you'll be a more positive role model for your kids.

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