15+ ways to teach our daughters to be body positive

daughters to be body positive

It’s around us everyone – on Instagram, in the magazines, on billboard posters….images of skinny girls converting their skinny and very best version of themselves at seemingly every corner. But the fact is….real life isn’t like that and bodies come in all shapes and sizes. In the face of this wrap around toxic mirror that surrounds us which presents one of the biggest challenges in raising girls today, how can we go about teaching our daughters to be body positive? I asked fab fellow parenting bloggers how they try and keep things real on the body positive front with theirs:

Never put down your own body

Teaching my daughters to be body positive is something I strive to do every single day. Having lived with anorexia my whole adult life I worry about it constantly. For that reason the children will never hear me make derogatory comments about my own body, even on the days when I don’t feel too great. – Five Little Doves 

Shun the women’s magazines

I think teaching body positivity it is one of the most important things we can do as parents. I think it helps is not buying “women’s magazines” which can be so damaging to have around.  – Mummy and Moose   

Teach strength, not beauty

Even though I struggle with my body image I always try and talk positively about how I look in front of her. As much as I think my daughter is beautiful I think telling her how strong she is, how active she is and how well she takes care of her body are also really important. – Candyfloss Dreams 

Celebrate your body’s achievements

I think it’s important to not show children our body hang-ups. I regularly talk about how my body grew my three children and show my children my stretchmarks and how they helped my body fit a growing baby. I walk around undressed to show them, as they grow, that women look different to as they do in papers and magazines. I try to always be positive when talking about my body (even if I don’t feel it myself). – Adventures of a Yorkshire Mum 

Talk healthy, not diets

Since joining Slimming World which saw me lose 3 stone, I’ve made a conscious effort to tell my children that I am following a healthy eating plan – not a diet. I teach them all it’s all about balance and moderation. I’ve also joined the gym and encourage them to be active to stay fit and healthy. It’s never about losing weight or restricting food in our house – it’s about keeping your body fit. – Twinderelmo.co.uk 

Make it naked

My husband and I walk around naked (after a bath etc) so the kids know what a “normal body” male and female look like, and try never to talk about our weight or what we look like in front of them.  Maybe I’m more conscious than most because I was very self conscious over my body as I was growing up, and still kind of am! I don’t want that for my girls. I want them to be proud and know that a thin body isn’t always a healthy one. – The Unsung Mum

Teach them it’s not about appearances

I try not to mention appearance too much. I never criticise my own appearance or weight. I would never get weighed in front of them or ever mention ‘diets’. Both children from an early age have understood that it’s not kind to negatively comment on someone else’s appearance. – Yorkshire Wonders

Make it about strong role models

By pointing out strong role models from all walks of life. Beauty is in many forms do my daughters see me building all women up and not knocking others. I also encourage sport and fitness. I took them to lots of activities until they fell in love with one. My 17 yr old is now an amazing hockey player and at the gym several times a week.- Emma Plus 3 

Instill confidence

My oldest daughter at 7 years-old is tall for her age and was incredibly self-conscious of her height. So we have had lots of discussions around our bodies and how everyone is different and that is what makes us all unique and beautiful. She now plays piano and netball and that has helped with her posture and she is now very proud to be tall and if anyone makes fun of she height she is now confident enough to ignore it. – Island Living 365

Celebrate their successes

Point out every other thing that they are good at. Reaffirm every time you can that they have far more value than weight or physical appearance.  – The Brick Castle 

Learn from other people’s mistakes

I grew up in a household where it was dealt with badly and body image and how you looked played a huge part in how you were viewed and treated – my mum used to put stickers on the biscuit tin and certain foods telling herself she was a ‘fat ugly pig’ etc…my weight was always a focal point as I struggled with eating disorders for years and I was told I was too thin or that I was ‘getting puffy’. It wasn’t until I met my husband that I got better and started to really enjoy food. We don’t use language about looks as a compliment or a measure of how worthy we are, rather we focus on abilities and behaviour and choices we make being cause for celebration. We are also very open about being naked at home (at appropriate times such as bathtime) and openly discuss and answer questions on things such as stretchmarks by explaining the positive reasons for them being there etc. – Arthur Wears 

Forget the the word “fat”

I have to make a very conscious effort around body positivity and self-praise. I steer my eldest away from using the word “fat” as a describing word, even in a playful context (“Look at my big fat tummy!”). – Mouse Moo Me Too 

Forget the physical

Having had weight issues all my life I am petrified of my daughter following in my footsteps or going the opposite way and being underweight. I NEVER talk about diets in front or her and never mention my own weight in front of her. I tell her she is beautiful as well as bright and smart. I try not to focus on the physical and squash any comments about people’s physical appearance as the occur. – You Baby Me Mummy 

Beware the outside influences

One of my daughters has had an eating disorder and still struggles daily with negative body image and her relationship with food is a complicated one. I always thought that I was good at portraying a positive body image to my children. What I’ve learnt over the last few years, is that the outside influences are so incredibly damaging and no matter how hard we try as parents, we sometimes cannot override these. – Inside Outside and Beyond 

Be their teacher

As children grow older, daughters especially, it is inevitable that they will compare their body to their peers and will ask you questions about the way they look so I think it’s very important not to avoid talking about body shape and food, instead talking very positively and explaining how everyone’s shape is different. I have friends that refuse to encourage healthy eating or mention anything at all about diet because they fear they’ll create a problem, but I believe this can be equally as damaging as talking about diet/bad foods etc. I view it as my job to step in and say “X isn’t good for you, why don’t you try X instead” I also encourage my eldest daughter to come to the gym with me, we do classes together which is a lovely way of having one on one time in a positive and healthy way. – Amy Treasure 

And their role model

Showing them you’re confident and happy in your own body (cellulite, mum tum and all) is the first step to raising daughters who like their bodies in my opinion. Although my own body is definitely not what it was 10 years ago, I never ever make it an issue. We laugh about my wobbly tummy, but in a fond way. I also keep telling my girls how pretty they are (they really are too!). – Le Coin de Mel  

15+ ways to teach our daughters to be body positive

Do you try to teach your daughters to be body positive? How do you go about doing it? Please do share in a comment below. And for more on how we can empower our daughters to love themselves see here.

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  1. I think it is so important to model body confidence for our daughters. If we are critical of ourselves then they will only follow suit xxx

  2. I am grateful to my mother for instilling a lot of body confidence in us as children growing up. Obviously we all have that one thing on our bodies which we dislike but its what makes us unique.

  3. Fantastic tips. There is so much pressure on young girls, even from a very young age. It’s quite worrying as mum to 2 daughters but I hope I can raise them to be confident and happy.

  4. Big topic in our house at the moment with our 7 yr old. Instilling self confidence is really important. Our daughters can be who ever they want to be….

  5. So many lovely tips. I have two daughters. Celebrating their other successes is a favourite of mine. Now my eldest is at school I know at some point she will start to feel more self conscious about how she looks.
    If you haven’t seen it yet check out the film Embrace. It’s incredible. The Dove website also have some new short videos out on their site which are fab confidence boosters for us and our kids!! #coolmumclub See you guys at #BML17 xxx

  6. Lots of great tips here. It is something I worry about a lot. I know how I felt in my teens and early 20s and I suspect it’s a lot worse now! #coolmumclub

  7. I love all of these! I’m comfortable in how I look these days, it took a long time to get to this point but I hope that I’m doing all the right things to help my daughter appreciate who she is and how she looks. #coolmumclub

  8. My daughter has just started secondary school where the body comments start coming thick and fast! I have really low body confidence but try not to pass it on to my kids – girls or boys x

  9. Love this, I read it earlier this week and have saved it for future reference! It’s tough in a world of airbrushing and posed selfies, but we owe it to our daughters to give it a jolly good go <3 #coolmumclub

  10. What a fab post! Such an important topic but for boys as well as girls. Boys are equally susceptible to comments about their weight or appearance. In fact with two teens, a boy and a girl, it’s my son who has struggled over the years with body confidence. Sport has helped him to view his body as strong and his health is very important to him. #coolmumclub

  11. Some great advice – I have to say I try and follow most of these guidelines (never the F word or Diet – not that I’ve ever done one!). It’s all about healthy ‘strong and fit in our conversations, but it’s scary to think how many external influences are baraging our kids daily.

    We gotta raise these girls to be the #CoolMums of the future! x

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