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Monday, 14 April 2014

Dear Mothers Of Girls.....

Dear Mothers Of Girls,

You have a real challenge on your hands in today's world, to raise the next generation of independent, strong women.

What a huge task that is, and I know that you are all doing everything in your power to raise them well and give them every thing you can for a great start in life.

I'm not a mother of a girl myself, and raising a boy brings its own set of challenges - I need to make sure I teach him that chivalry isn't dead and never should be. I need to teach him how to treat and respect a woman. I need to teach him that it's ok to be sensitive. 
So many lessons that need to be taught.

But for girls, there are other things to consider.

I read a recent study that showed a third of girls aged 8 were worried about becoming fat to the extent that they had skipped breakfast or lunch.

EIGHT YEARS OLD.



Not much more than babies....already starting down the slippery slopes of fad diets and weight loss techniques.

It worries me  - who is setting these examples for them? Where are they learning to skip meals to lose weight? Why are 8 year old little girls even conscious of weight and their appearance, and what is a desirable figure to have?

Being a girl and raising a girl simultaneously must be a challenge in itself - as females it's so natural to so many of us to really worry about our physical appearance.

So many of us spend years of our lives worrying about our weight and our figures.

You can't turn off how you feel about your body and if you choose to diet or eat a certain way, that is your prerogative.

But please consider how much of this your daughter sees.

Our daughters learn almost everything from us, including self worth and self image - if your daughter see's Mummy always worried about every bite she eats, always counting calories, always complaining that she looks fat - won't she learn that being thin is the most important thing for a woman?

That she has to work so hard to make sure she never becomes fat...because fat is obviously the worst thing she could be?

If your daughter see's you always putting yourself down...standing in the mirror, berating your appearance...won't that teach her that looks are a big deal? That it's SO important that she is beautiful.

As a child, your mother is someone you usually look up to and admire. Someone who is beautiful to you. Someone you want to be just like.

To be told by your mother that she is actually fat and unattractive - wouldn't this throw off your self image? Wouldn't it teach the wrong lesson?

Of course telling our children that they are beautiful is important. But we should all be focusing just as much, if not more so, on complimenting their more important attributes - yes they are beautiful, but aren't they also smart? funny? kind? 

Surely these are the traits that need to be praised and encouraged. We need to let them know that these are things that really matter.

It breaks my heart to see so many mothers of young girls focusing so much on their physical apperance around the next generation of women ... at a time when their ideas of what's important are being formed in their young minds....

It all starts with you.

Show them that its what inside that counts. Don't berate yourself in front of them. Eat what you choose to and diet all you want to, but be careful not to expose them to that world too young.

Of course these things are important for boys as well, eating disorders and body image issues aren't exclusive to girls....but as a girl myself I know how these things affected me.

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55 comments:

  1. Great post Hayley! I don't think some parents realise how their behaviour around body image, food etc can dramatically affect their child. I know of children who have issues with food because they've seen their mother's.
    I had a parent come to me to tell me their 6 year old was throwing her pack lunch away because she didn't want to get fat...terrifying! xx

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  2. i agree with everything you've said so so much! young girls these days are far too focused with how they look...instead of enjoying their childhood they're just growing up too fast. There's plenty of time for growing up when they're older, i wish they could enjoy being a child :( You little boy is so lucky to have a mum like you btw, he's going to be such a fab, respectable, funny loving happy going boy when he grows up!! :) x

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  3. hey lovely post www.dreamsandlens.com xx

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  4. Its a terrible shame people so young go through this.

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  5. Eek I'm really scared about going through this with Sienna as I went through it and suffered with bulimia, I' still not happy and I am guilty or always saying I'm fat and need to starve myself! I would never starve self though but I shouldn't say it around Sienna, I need to work on it a lot! great post x

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  6. Ur thoughts echo mine, well said!

    X

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  7. Great post, it just highlights what a terrible world we live in. :(

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  8. It seems I don't know a woman in my family who hasn't struggled with their weight or body image. It would be amazing to grow up among more body confident women.

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  9. Great post! I am a new mum to my little lady and I worry about the pressures and thoughts of young girls these days. I just want my girl to know that being beautiful starts with a beautiful heart and no matter what, not to be pressured into looking/being a certain way. We are all unique and beautiful x

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  10. They're now weighing kids at school and sending home letters if they think your child is obese- some of the kids I've seen who have had a letter home are nowhere near obese! It's so wrong x

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  11. Important comments you have made. I'm glad I have a boy and not a girl.

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  12. Fantastic post and truly inspiring - your way with words brought a tear to my eye because it reminded me of my struggles as a teacher with girls (and boys) as young a 11 and 12 talking about diets and looking like the next top model. The struggle was then trying to stop them picking on the 'larger' sized ones for being a few pounds heavier than them. It is a turning into a tough world.

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  13. very good post, it's soul destroying thinking about what young people go through

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  14. My dad said he had nothing but trouble raising us 4 daughters! He'd have loved a boy, but yes girls are naturally harder to raise!

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  15. Great post. I totally agree we all focus too much on how we look

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  16. Wow those stats are shocking! Hopefully I can input some of this when I become a teacher too. No one should feel like that x

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  17. A very important message in this post, thanks for dharing :) x

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  18. Totally agree with this post! My mum has never dieted as far as I know, although I still picked up some pretty unhealthy ideas about food from school friends by the time I was about 9 or 10 - which can only really have come from their parents. I always make sure to show healthy attitudes to food around my stepdaughters, it's so important that they know there's more to life than worrying about how you look!

    Jess xo

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  19. This is scary. I'm 30 and my mum still comments on my weight. Especially now as I'm 4 months away from my wedding. All my life I've been concerned about my weight because of her attitude towards hers and her remarks about mine. I vow never to do that to my daughter if I have one. x

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  20. Girls are meaner now I see that with my Daughters friends

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  21. I have a neice who is obsessed with the way she looks and she's only 12, far to young to worry about body image.

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  22. i have 3 girls, my eldest being 6 and already she has asked me if shes fat (shes actually average weight and height) ive no idea where it came from, but it was around the time they were talking about heathy eating at school

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  23. I agree with everything you said - I cannot believe girls of such a young age are worrying about things like this. It seems children get no time to just enjoy being children anymore. The media also has a lot to answer for.. and everything in moderation is fine.

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  24. Great post, i have boys and a girl and i have found that my youngest son is more body conscious, steaming from a talk they had in reception class. A lot of the negative views on body image does come from the schools, my boy at 5 is always asking if the food we are eating is healthy or not. I try to instill that there is no such thing as healthy and unhealthy its a balance and we can enjoy all.

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  25. Very scary to think about, but it needs to be talked about.

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  26. Great post. So much pressure is on girls to look this way & then affects people. Looking at celebs who are fat one minute then thin next does not help society.Need to be strong role models & be happy with who you are

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  27. Great post - i have 4 boys and one girl with another little girl due in the next couple of weeks. They are so different and i can tell im going to worry a whole lot more about a different set of problems with little girls!

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  28. My daughter is 12 and called 'fat' at school all the time, this doesn't seem to faze her much at the moment but I do worry about her, well I worry how others will make her feel.... i'm so proud of her!! I will continue to make sure she knows how truly beautiful she is x

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  29. Great post. Scary that this is how our world is now.

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  30. Wise words...it's difficult to be an adult in a world full of technology telling us how we should look. A recent example is the thigh gap trend.

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  31. Great post thanks and I agree with what you are saying.

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  32. Hello Super interesting post thanks for sharing!

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  33. It is such a shame that these young girls don't realise what they are doing to their bodies and should be educated more in school about nutrition etc

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  34. Very well written. Well done.

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  35. Great post totally agree with you x

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  36. Its a scary and worrying thought that girls grow up so quick

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  37. I have 2 beautiful girls who I hope I am raising to love themselves just the way they are - so called school friends can be cruel at times and it's important to reassure all children that they are loved, not just girls :)

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  38. I want my girls to stay children as long as possible. I just let them enjoy being children

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  39. This is so important! Thanks for posting!

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  40. It is really important to learn children about good healthy diet early in their lives - that way they won't have to worry about being fat because if you eat healthy food you naturally do not put extra weight on.

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  41. Great post. Find it sad that girls are worrying at such a young age x

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  42. I think it is a shame but with alot mothers these days being baked in make up and trying to look amazing 24/7 then what chance do our girls have If us as women can not love ourselves for how we are how can our children ever do so?

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  43. Being a mummy of one each, I do have to admit I worry about my daughter about all the things you have mentioned and more. Boys have their own worries too.

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  44. As a mum of two girls I worry a lot but I also feel excitement for them as I know they can make just as much of a mark on this world as any man... Something I wouldn't have been able to say if we went back in time 60 years...

    Kel Ellen Hirst

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  45. I think this is a great post and I agree with all of the points you have made.

    However, approx 1 in every 10 eating disorder sufferers are males so the issues are just as relevent to boys. Parents of both boys and girls need to be cautious about discussing their body image in a negative context infront of their children.

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  46. Great post Hayley and I have experienced this with my daughter who is 12 now and often say's look at this fat or I have big legs!! Really she couldn't be any thinner so why oh why she thinks this is beyond me x

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  47. I really agree with everything you have said. There is so much pressure put on young girls these days!

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  48. my 12 year old sister is always moaning that shes "fat" - shes stick thin! she always points out something that she doesnt like about herself and its really sad that she feels like that

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  49. Very true, I agree with all of this! There is too much emphasis put on being skinny and not enough on being strong and healthy!

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