Stop Body Shaming in Front of Your Children

Moms, we have to quit our body shaming.

The pressure to be thin is all around us. From television to magazines to social media, we are constantly bombarded with the idea that skinny is the ideal. Girls as young as nine have eating disorders, and more and more boys struggle with this as well. We, as a society, continually send the message that thinner is better and your size determines your worth. I do not have the answers to the societal problems. I do not have the answers to your body image struggles. Lord knows, I have plenty of my own.

I grew up thin.

Weight was never a problem for me … until it was. Now, I am the heaviest I’ve ever been. I feel like I look disgusting {even though I know I don’t}, and I struggle with accepting my post baby body. I go back and forth between “loving the skin I’m in” and strongly considering a “mommy makeover.” I get it. I am fluent in negative self-talk. I understand the desire to lose weight and be the size you used to be or the size you think you should be. My self-esteem has really taken a hit over the last 4 years. All that to say, I am not some size 2 fitness buff telling you to be confident. I’m not a “body positive” role model. I still want to lose weight and get in shape. And yes, I truly believe I will be happier on the inside when I look better on the outside. I don’t mean everyone needs to or should feel that way, but I’m being honest here.

body shaming momsYou know who doesn’t know about my struggles? My children. Specifically, my daughter. She never sees me get on the scale and sigh. She never hears me complain about my clothes no longer fitting. She is completely oblivious to the fact that I loathe being in a swimsuit. She never hears me use the word diet. Do you know how I know? Because I keep my body shaming inside my head. I rock my tankini at the beach; I talk about exercising to be strong and eating right to be healthy. I know that I am my daughter’s biggest influence, so I am extra mindful of how I talk about myself. The media and even other young girls can and do affect our daughters, but as their moms, during these crucial years, we are most responsible for shaping their views.

When your 10-year-old thinks she is fat, do not act surprised or look for someone else to blame if when she was six you were talking about losing weight all the time. While your child is young, be a positive role model for her. If you don’t love your body, pretend you do. That’s what I have to do. If I cannot change the way I view myself, I can certainly do my best to not pass along these issues to my daughter. And if you are struggling with weight/body issues, I would encourage you to do the same thing. At the very least, we owe it to our children to fake it ’til we make it.

Recently, I was talking to a friend’s 11-year-old daughter about summer vacation. She mentioned to me that she was going to diet and exercise so she could lose some weight before she went to the beach. Never mind the fact that she’s already thin and fit, she’s ELEVEN. Why is she concerned with losing weight? I’m sure the media, her friends, etc. play a part, but her mom shoulders some responsibility as well. Sadly, on more than one occasion, I have heard her mom talk about her weight and shame her own body in front of her daughter. A while back, we were goofing off taking photos of ourselves and the kids, and the mom said, “I look too fat in this picture. Delete it.” Sorry, but her mom doesn’t get to blame the media and society for her daughter’s body image issues. She has to take a long hard look in the mirror, accept responsibility, and try to change her ways.

It is not my intent to guilt you or make anyone feel bad. Rather, I am begging you to break this cycle. If we are constantly shaming our bodies, our daughters {or sons} are learning to do the same. I do not have the answers for you on how to love yourself more or how to lose the weight. All I can tell you that if you don’t stop criticizing your body in front of your daughter, you will pass along these issues to her, whether you want to or not.

Let’s work harder to make the next generation of kids grow up loving themselves for who they are, despite what they look like.

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Myndee is a 35ish year old New Orleans area native. She's an author, speaker and self-love advocate. As an introverted extrovert, Myndee loves being part of the generation where most of her friends live in her computer. She and her husband, Luis, live just outside the city with their three kids.

1 COMMENT

  1. Amen!!! And it’s not just you, but all the women your daughters are surrounded by! Such a great post!!

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