Sure, we can blame images of stick thin models in magazine and on TV, but when it comes to body image experts say young girls are learning mostly from their moms. Girls who see their moms trying out every fad diet and commenting about their own weight are learning unhealthy ways to view their own bodies.
USA Today reports about how moms and grandmothers are the biggest influence on how young women learn to think about body image. Clinical director of Mayo Clinic’s eating disorders program and child psychologist, Dr. Leslie Sim, agrees that moms are the first and most important example of how they should view themselves.
Even if a mom is careful never to comment on her daughter’s weight, there is still a negative impact if mom’s appearance or need to go on a diet is being discussed. Young girls who grow up with a negative body image are more prone to developing low self-esteem, eating disorders, and depression.
Though it’s important to stress the importance of healthy eating, the topic of weight should not be a discussion. It should always be about getting healthy. Dr. Sim advises, “Zero talk about dieting, zero talk about weight. Zero comments not only about your daughter's weight, obviously, but zero talk about your weight and even other people's weight.”
Rather than talking about outer appearance or weight, moms can lead by example preparing healthy meals for dinner and coming up with an exercise routine that the whole family can participate in.
Do you think moms are the biggest influence on daughter’s body image? Have you ever caught yourself talking about weight or diets around your kids?
What are some ways you try to instill positive body image on your kids?