I'm sure the reason you're reading this blog is because you are well aware of the culture we live in today. You are aware of the messages that promote the perfect body, the perfect diet, the perfect exercise routine and an unrealistic expectation of beauty. Unfortunately our kids are impacted by all of this and as parents we want them to grow up strong, confident and authentic to who they truly are.
A few questions I get asked regularly is how do I help my child? How do I help them grow up healthy and confident? How do I help them love themselves unconditionally and be kind to their bodies and celebrate their uniqueness? These are great questions and somewhat complex. I am fascinated on this topic and I find myself researching it constantly through my grad program.
First I say kudos to caring. The sole fact that you are investing your time to reading this blog and learning is a fantastic step.
Second, I encourage you to explore these questions on your own. Do YOU feel healthy and confident? Can YOU love yourself unconditionally? Are YOU able to be kind to yourself and celebrate your uniqueness? Doing your own work is usually the hardest and most rewarding part in all of this. I don't believe we can tell our kiddos to love themselves exactly how they are if we are constantly checking our own bodies in the mirror and tearing them apart. I DO believe we can model positive behaviors and teach our kids through our own actions, whether we think they notice them or not (because let's be real, they totally pickup on EVERYTHING we do).
(If you want some more concrete steps on creating a positive body image in our children you can read that here )
I came across a research article not too long ago about a study done on mother daughter relationships and daughters body image. Some interesting statements in this article are followed.
So the question is HOW do we do this? I know as a parent we are willing to do anything for our kids. In case, the most important thing we can be doing is working on our own selves. When we can treat ourselves we self compassion, unconditional love and self acceptance it is going to overflow to our daughters well-being and in my opinion our sons and other loved ones as well.
If you need help getting started I have a quick post on self kindness that you can check out here or if you are local drop in to my free women's group.
The most important thing to remember is it's never too late to start creating a healthy relationship with ourselves, our bodies, our minds or even with our kiddos.
So much love to you mama on this journey we are on,
Hanna Kuyper is a wife, a mom and a lover of all things outdoors. She has owned a women only wellness studio, sat on the board of a non profit dedicated to eating disorder and body image awareness and has volunteered as a mentor for girls in school. Hanna has a Masters Degree in Counseling Psychology with an emphasis in eating disorders and body image. She is a currently a virtual body image and recovery coach at The Eating Disorder Center.