Body Image Issues: Your Six-Year-Old Asks, “Do I Look Fat?”
Recently, I nearly had a heart attack when I overheard my six-year-old and her bestie ask each other, “Do I look fat in this?” Another friend mentioned that her kindergarten-age son came home from school and asked her if she thought he was fat. What has Elmo been talking about there on the ’ol Street? Seriously, I full well expected to address this issue at some point, because I’m raising my children in bikini-clad California, but already? Breezy Mama turned to Dr. de Freitas, pediatrician and founder of Healthy Chats, for her advice on promoting a healthy body image, no matter how young or old the child, signs a child/teen may have an eating disorder, and more.
After hearing two six-year-olds ask each other if they look fat, what would you have recommended I had said?
Children need to be taught that people’s value is not based on whether they are fat or on how they look, but on how they behave toward others and themselves.
In addition, remind children that everyone is different and that their bodies are gifts to them from their parents. Encourage children to find their unique characteristic. This could be that they are funny, athletic, smart, caring, or innumerable other traits that make up part of our human nature. Nurture that, along with a good diet and a healthy portion of exercise.
For a mom of two daughters in bikini-clad California, what suggestions do you have for promoting healthy body image?
It is so unfortunate that our society sexualizes the female body and places such emphasis on physical appearance. Unfortunately, it seems particularly prominent in California.
As parents, we need to let our girls know that we value them for who they are and not by their looks.
Young girls can be empowered with a healthy body image through sports, good eating habits, and remaining involved in activities that promote their education and advancement as individuals. Remind your daughter that her body is perfect just the way it is, and enjoy the process of dressing for the styles that best suit your figure.
Stress that everyone’s body type is different; learning to dress in what is best for your figure—even in California, where girls tend to dress for the warmer climate—is also helpful.
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Originally published on truucoonfessions.com