8 Ways to Boost a Girl’s Self-Image

I loved this article on raising our daughters to have a positive self image. My daughter is 8 and she is already telling me weekly that she needs to exercise and eat fewer calories so she doesn’t get fat. It’s sad to me that my tiny daughter thinks that she needs to change herself to conform to what society deems as beautiful. I’m looking forward to boosting her self confidence and changing how she views herself and others. Every mother with a young daughter needs to read this.

 

For women, the expectations of beauty have never been higher. We’re told we should be tall, slender, and tan with full lips, lush hair, and sparkling eyes. The media pushes this ideal with the help of electronic touch-ups, surrounding us with an unattainable standard of beauty—and our children are soaking it up.

14008

In this time when our bodies are portrayed as imperfect and unworthy, learn how you can help your daughters find their own real beauty in an unrealistic world.

When my daughter was 8 years old, she told me that a boy in her class said she was “sexy.” This incident shocked me into an awareness of the world’s view of beauty and how children today are being inundated with a skewed sense of what pretty means. I recognized that my sweet, innocent daughter was already feeling the pressure of being thin. We discussed this and she returned to school with instructions to tell this boy that she was beautiful, not sexy. When that same daughter, at age 9, reported that a boy told her she was “hot,” I realized I was facing a challenge of global proportions.

The media is reaching into the very heart of our homes and classrooms with its unhealthy and abnormal images and expectations of beauty.

Take a look at the dolls and toys created in the past decade. Barbie has received her fair share of controversy and digital cosmetic enhancements, nips, and tucks to create a completely inaccurate portrayal of a woman. She has become such an icon that in February of this year, Sports Illustrated went so far as to feature Barbie, accompanying a campaign titled “Unapologetic,” which celebrates her unrealistic image.

Then Bratz dolls were developed. The dolls thrived with their inappropriate dress and skewed body shapes. And more have joined the ranks with Monster High.

Times have changed, and so have the general body shapes for most children’s toys. Even Strawberry Shortcake dolls are taller and thinner than the original doll from the late ’70s. Dora, Rainbow Brite, and many other beloved characters have had to get a makeover and digital cosmetic surgery to stay “current.”

Because the attack on our self-image is very focused, strong countermeasures need to be taken now to help our children see their bodies not as a burden but as a gift from their loving Heavenly Father. Use these eight tips to help your children have a healthier self-image.

1. Encourage positive self-image.

I explained to my daughter that many times when people don’t feel confident, they degrade themselves aloud, hoping someone will disagree with them and make them feel better. The concept of “fishing for compliments” gets worse when children internalize what the media is teaching them about beauty.

Parents can make a difference by recognizing the need to define beauty for their children and praise them appropriately. Parents can also teach them that it’s okay to feel good about themselves and love their body. It doesn’t mean they are prideful; it’s being thankful for a gift from God.

2. Focus on being healthy.

In my own quest to overcome a serious health issue, I changed my eating habits and lost some weight. My husband followed the strict health guidelines with me, and he also lost weight. My children were aware of family members and friends who commented on the weight that we had lost and how good we looked. We took this opportunity to emphasize how much better we felt because we were healthy. We talked about how we had more energy and felt happier because our physical bodies weren’t in pain.

As a parent, take special care to step around the words skinny and thin and replace those with healthy and fit. Talk with your children about how being healthy is more important than the numberon the scale.

3. Don’t be afraid to talk about healthy weight.

Talking openly helped me realize just how aware my 10-year-old daughter was of her weight. I’ve had several great conversations with her as she shared with me her concerns that other girls in her class weighed 10–15 pounds less than she did. (On a side note, I felt it was unbelievable that these girls were sharing how much they weighed at such a young age, already comparing.)

I explained to my daughter the difference between height and frame—she is one of the tallest kids in her class, and I remember that feeling all too well. We talked about how everyone grows at adifferent rate, how boys will eventually be taller than her, and how she shouldn’t compare herself to someone who will likely be 7 to 10 inches shorter than her at full maturity.

Take time to help your child understand that we are all different, yet all of us were created in the image of God. Teach a lesson about comparison by asking your children if an apple can ever become an orange. Then ask your children to think about how Heavenly Father views them and how He wants them to live a healthy and happy life.

4. Teach your child it’s okay to love their body type.

I take care to praise my daughter’s specific body type and also tell her the things I love about my body. I explained to her that, with a dad who is 6′ 2″ and a mom who is 5′ 7″, she will likely always be tall, and that’s a great thing because that is her body. This was a good time to point out how often we find fault with different areas of our body and how detrimental that can be.

Focus on how you talk about your body and make an effort to be positive. Your example teaches your children how they should feel about their own body. Share pictures with your children of their parents and grandparents when they were similar ages. Encourage them to be excited about their future growth and development while enjoying the stage they are currently in.

5. Encourage positive extended family dialogue.

Grandmas, aunts, and cousins can be an influence for good in teaching children positive self-image. After hearing my grandma praise one of her granddaughters several times about how thin she was, I called and asked her if she might openly praise some other qualities that her granddaughters have. This was an easy conversation for me because I have a great relationship with my grandma, and I knew she loved many things about the grandkids. 

Many of us fall into the trap of continually praising girls on their looks and boys on their athletic abilities. You can lead out the praise in family gatherings by noting specific talents and abilities that relatives are blessed with beyond their looks.

6. Discuss media, toys, games, and other influences that are promoting sexy as the norm.

You might be surprised just how much your children notice at a very young age. Dr. Jennifer Shewmaker, professor of psychology, says, “For girls, looking at fashion magazines that promote a ‘thin’ ideal and watching prime-time television and music videos with sexualized images are closely linked to depressive symptoms and low self-esteem. For both boys and girls, the more time they spend engaging with media, the lower their grades and the less contentment they express, especially related to who they are and their everyday lives.”

To address this issue, you could open a discussion by asking children how they think their dolls should be dressed. If you happen to own a toy that is conveying a negative or skewed image, use it as a tool to have this discussion and offer to replace it with an appropriate toy or game.

7. Help children understand what defines real beauty.

This isn’t just the talk about how beauty is only skin deep. This is the discussion where you give your child the tools to recognize their own divine heritage, individual worth, and priceless self-identity. 

When my children witnessed an inappropriate commercial on television, I took the opportunity to dispel the lies being portrayed by asking a few simple questions. Does Heavenly Father want us to be happy? We’ve learned that by choosing the right we can be happy. Do you think that the people in that commercial are really happy? Why or why not?

8. Cut down on the number of images that your child consumes.

Through all of the discussions I’ve had with my children about positive self-image, I’ve recognized that a strong, creative mind is necessary to combat Satan’s tactics to destroy self-worth. With a vivid imagination and outlets to utilize creativity, children can step away from the parameters the media has set and learn the expectations our Heavenly Father has for them.

I asked my children to draw me a picture about beauty. The activity served as a reminder that we can create our own “media influence” in our home, so that real beauty is all around us. My girls drew pictures of flowers, trees, hearts, birds, and landscapes, while my younger boys drew some trucks and monsters. I found it interesting that the only people in their drawings were themselves enjoying the beauty they had created.

Assess how much time your child spends watching television, playing video games, using the computer, and playing on smart phones and other electronic devices. Then consider that we are exposed to hundreds of images for every hour we use these devices.

How do these negative images affect our children’s growing minds? Lexie and Linsday Kite explain the phenomenon of “the normalization of abnormal.” Since we’ll see so many more images of women in media than we’ll ever see face-to-face, those images form a new standard for not just beautiful but also average and healthy in our minds. When women compare themselves to a standard of beautiful, average, and healthy that simply doesn’t exist in real life, the battle for healthy body image is already lost.

Your daughter is aware of her body. You can be assured that by age 6, she will already have had enough outside influences to notice her body compared to others. The important point here is to teach our children how to love and honor their bodies. Help them recognize yet another master plan of the adversary, step away from what media portrays, and cherish their bodies—one of the greatest gifts God has given us on earth.

SOURCE: http://www.ldsliving.com/story/75061-8-ways-to-boost-a-girls-self-image

One is Fun

Jace is a officially a ONE YEAR OLD. She is full of mischief and smiles.

She took her first tentative steps last night!! She first walked to Cora because she loves to pull Cora’s hair. (There’s a reason I have very short hair now people and her name rhymes with face.) Then she walked to Daddy!

Her favorite activities include emptying cupboards, toy boxes, underwear drawers and trash cans.

Putting anything not designed to go in your mouth, you guessed it, in her mouth.

Pooping in the bath tub. That warm water is just so relaxing, no?

New words are fun to say over and over and over. Her favorite word is Dada followed closely by uh-oh, hot, and hi. Although blowing raspberries and clicking the tongue are still heavy players. Especially during church.

She loves to play with her big brother and sister. They have been very big helpers to Mom so she can accomplish making dinner.

Food is wonderful except for banana’s and peaches. Anything stuck to the floor from yesterday’s meal is exceptionally delicious.

And I’m sure you’ve all heard of her loathing for her carseat.

Happy Birthday to my Darling Duchess! This year has been lovely and harrowing with you and I can’t wait for many more to come.

MY FIRST YEAR HAS FLOWN BY

MY FIRST YEAR HAS FLOWN BY

Love her DIMPLE!

Love her DIMPLE!

Posing Flipbook

The last photo shoot I did my client stated numerous times that she wanted lots of different creative poses. So I went on to her Pinterest page and printed out lots of different family portraits that she had pinned. I also printed some from my own personal page. I stapled all the pictures together and called it my ‘Posing Flipbook’.  Very big hit with my client. She loved looking through the book and choosing poses. Plus it always nice when you can show your client in a picture how you want them to stand, sit, smile etc. Because we are all visual learners right? Right.

This has the added benefit of one less thing you have to focus on. Instead you can focus on freaking out about camera settings, light, and locations. Just me? Oh goodie!

Cute poses for your viewing pleasure below!

AFam

Tell me your favorite poses and where you get your ideas.

Zany Letters

Dear Bluetooth,

I would like to kiss your creator. Or at least make you some gratitude cookies. I love listening to my “I Heart Radio” app on my car stereo. I was totally jamming to my tunes while I ran errands today.

Love,

My undying gratitude to you sirs!

Dear Washer,

You are only 7 years old. Have I been that unkind to you? You sound like dying whale singing it’s last rights during the washing portion of your cycle. Big thumbs down.

Yours,

Not happy with this new development

Dearest Husband,

I appreciate you taking the time to hand sew all the popped seams on our couches. That was very thoughtful. I can’t help but think that the real reason you did it, is because you REALLY don’t want to go furniture shopping with me. Too bad all the popped seams ripped open the next day.

Your loving wife

Dear Tiny Toot,

In just a few short weeks you will be a One. Year. Old. You have been the most challenging baby I’ve ever had, but I love you dearly. One request. Please start saying Mama. All I’m hearing so far is Dada.

Long may the Duchess reign,

Your Loving Mama

Image

Aebleskivers

Aeble what? Skivers. A danish pancake. But better than any pancake you’ve ever tasted. These are actually a little tricky to make and they require special equipment. However I also think this recipe translates well into a waffle or plain old pancake recipe.

2 eggs separated

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 1/2 teaspoons sugar

1 cup milk

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1 cup flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

In medium bowl beat egg yolks until light in color. Stir in sugar. In a separate bowl, stir together remaining dry ingredients. Add to egg mixture alternately with milk. Mix in oil. In separate bowl beat egg whites stiff. (I use my ninja blender to beat the egg whites while I make the batter.) Fold egg whites into batter. Yields about 28.

Now heat up your Aebleskiver pan on medium high heat. It needs to be pretty hot before you add any batter. Fill cups about 3/4 full.

Image

When the batter starts to bubble use a skewer to turn the aebleskiver half way.

Image

Once the batter starts to bubble again, you guessed it, turn the aebleskiver again. You keep turning until all sides have been cooked and the center is hollow. Did I mention this is tricky? You might not get it right on your first, second, or third batch. It’s okay. Food is art and sometime it takes a lot of false starts to get it right.

Image

Break aebleskiver apart and fill with your favorite toppings. Maple syrup, lemon glaze, sausage, jam, or apples. The possibilities are infinite. My favorite is nutella and whip cream.

Image

Squish back together and prepare to be transported to your happy food place!

Image

*If you have never made these before you might consider watching a “how to” video on youtube. It’s for the best.*

The Tale of Two Elves

On December 1st our sneaky Elf makes his debut. I promised my children that they would see our Elf the next day. But the joke seems to be on us, the parents. That Elf is MIA. He’s not in any of the Christmas boxes. Or Easter or Halloween or even Independence Day. So we thought up a lie and we thought it up quick.

Image

I’m positive we get bonus points for using the word ‘naked.’ It makes my young children giggle every time. Meanwhile my loving husband ran to Barnes and Noble to acquire a new Elf.

But of course we forgot to place the Elf before the kids woke up for school. We’re not winning any prize parents of the year award here. Princess ran into me in the hallway with a suspicious lump under my shirt. She said, “I’m looking for the Elf.” I said, “Quick go put on your shoes and I’ll help you find him.” I stashed the Elf in the first semi hidden spot I could find. Two seconds later the Dude comes out of the bedroom to look for our Elf.

20131203_081007 (Bruce the cat checking out our new Elf)
Dude laughed hard and said, “That sneaky Elf is under the tree!”

20131203_222431 Tonight the Elf will defy gravity. He’ll hang upside down and drink Maple Syrup. Because that’s what Elf’s like.

I’m so grateful my kids still believe in Santa and in our Elf. I’m sad that next year they’ll probably be too old to believe. But for now I’m enjoying seeing their faces light up when the Elf magically moves to a different spot in our house every night.