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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