Self-criticism is common among teenage girls – how often have you urged your daughter not to put herself down? But sometimes we have low self-esteem too and it’s possible that you could be teaching her bad habits through the example you set by criticizing yourself. Ever found yourself looking in the mirror and frowning or moaning about how you look? You may not even realize you’re doing it, but your daughter probably will.
Up to 80% of women are unhappy with what they see in the mirror, according to the Mirror, Mirror report report, published by the Social Issues Research Centre. Worryingly, a recent review of research by the Centre for Appearance Research also shows that mothers who are dissatisfied with their own bodies are more likely to have daughters who also have body dissatisfaction.
It’s not easy to change the way you look at yourself, but a few techniques can help you create better feelings about your body and in turn your daughter will pick up on your positivity.
Feeling better about yourself from the inside will help you build your own body confidence – one of the most important steps to help your daughter build her own.
Use the action checklist that Dr. Susie Orbach has compiled to help you and your daughter develop a more positive relationship with yourselves. Small changes like these in your daily routine can help adjust how you see yourself and set your daughter up for a body confident future.
Take a trip back in time: Look at pictures of yourself from a few years ago that you like. Fashion faux pas aside, do you look back fondly? Often, women were dissatisfied with their body at the time but realize now that they looked fine and even wish they had that body today. This is a great exercise to help you to accept and enjoy your body as it is.
Give your body credit for all it has experienced: Remember your body has lived, worked, given birth, brought up a child and run a household. Bodies change as we age so remind yourself that the images in magazines are often digitally enhanced in extraordinary ways rather than being pictures of real women.
Reconnect with your body: Put on your favorite music and dance around. You may feel a little self-conscious at first, but feeling how alive your body is from the inside can be really uplifting. Feeling silly? Try a Zumba or aerobics class instead and get down in a group.
Enjoy exercise with your daughter: Invite your daughter to try out a new exercise class with you. Doing exercise will make you both feel good about your bodies – and remember to be vocal about how good it feels.
Positive vibes only: Discuss the things you like about each other’s style. Only remark on positive aspects and try to give specific examples. Listen to the qualities your daughter admires in you and remind yourself of them when you need a boost.
Mirror, Mirror report
Centre for Appearance Research Literature Review
Article date: 26 June 2013
Review date: 26 June 2014
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