Body Positive Parenting 101: Walking The Walk For Your Kids

In conjunction with the Body Positive Parenting group on Facebook, I wanted to start a series of Body Positive Parenting pieces. And what better place to start than at the very beginning of what being Body Positive is all about?

parenting corner copyWe’ve covered what is body positive and how to apply it to your own body. Now we need to transfer that knowledge into your parenting. That’s where things get a little harder.

It’s one thing to tell yourself you’re going to be body positive, quite another not to fall back into your old patterns of policing your own and other peoples’ bodies. It’s not easy changing a life-time of behavior!

Especially as women, we’ve been programmed practically from birth to be hyper aware of how the women around us look and dress. Don’t believe me? What dominated the “news” Monday morning following the Grammy awards? Yup, all the discussion about best and worst dressed. Fashion flubs. Hair disasters. Watch and hear enough of these discussions and it’s easy to make the transition to your own life and to the people you see around you.

Parenting adds another layer of difficulty because we say the right things most of the time, but don’t always do them. Have you ever told your children not to swear, then let loose in traffic? I know I’m not the only one. Or lecture your kids about the importance of eating a healthy diet as they watch you drink a diet soda for breakfast every morning?

Children want to emulate their parents. We’re their models for how to be all grown up. So they “catch” our good actions and our bad actions.

Do you want your kids moaning every time they see themselves in the mirror? I’m so fat! I’m so ugly! I’m so old! When did this happen??

Do you want them tearing through the clothes in their closets, swearing nothing fits and they have nothing to wear?

Do you want them looking at a classmate and whispering, “No one over a size 2 should ever wear leggings?”

That’s where our self-policing comes into play. We need to be aware of the messages about body image that we are sending to our children through our own words and actions. Not only will it help their mental and physical health, but it will do us a world of good also.

Keep practicing being body positive. It isn’t something you do for three or four days and have mastered. There will be days you slip up. Forgive yourself and start back up. Find things to compliment in other people. Whether you do it to them personally or not, you’ll still instill a change away from the critic that’s been living within.

Compliment your children on their actions and behaviors, not on their appearance. It’s all to easy to fawn over pretty little girls, but should that be the only thing we notice? Aren’t pretty little girls also artistic, smart, athletic little girls? I use girls as reference because I don’t thing boys get the same reactions.

All of our children deserve to know that they are so much more than their looks. They are all incredible beings who have a lot to offer to society. Just like the people who are raising them. Let’s give everyone a break and appreciate what we have and what we are today…perfect just as we are.

I was influenced by many different sources to write this post. Those include Dances with Fat, The Fat Chick, and Dr. Deah Schwartz among others.


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