Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Self image and daughters

I was at the doctors office last week (many times in fact) and there was a woman there with her 8 year old daughter. There's a big full-length mirror at the doctors office that my toddlers love - they make faces at it, wave to themselves, do all sorts of silliness in front of it. But then this 8 year old stood in front of the mirror, gazed at herself, and called her mother over to stand in front of the mirror.

Mom came up and looked at herself from different angles. And constantly as she looked at herself, she talked about her imperfections - "honey, look how big my butt looks!", "look here, honey, I almost look pregnant with this big belly!," "oh my gosh! I had no idea my roots were showing like this! Why didn't you tell me, honey?!" All this to an 8 year old. I think it's a natural stage for girls (and probably boys too) to judge themselves, and specifically their bodies. Is it really necessary to show them how to criticize their bodies? And if mom is doing it openly, she's showing her little girl that this is the right way to view yourself.

In fact, after mom sat down, the girl took up her mom's example and started criticizing her own body. Mom's response? " Oh, sweetheart, aren't you a little young to say things like that?"

I'm not so experienced in giving girls a positive self image, since my girl is only 2. But I'm pretty sure the example above isn't gonna do it.

1 comment:

Mella said...

Oh my - that is definitely not the way to instill self-worth in a young girl, especially since the daughter is probably still in the time of her life where she thinks her mother is beautiful and unflawed -- so if she isn't happy with herself, than what chance does the daughter have?

So sad.