The onslaught of images
We all know that children are impressionable, their minds like sponges soaking up as much information as we can possibly give them. But until watching the video above, I’d never really thought about how advertising images of ‘perfect beauty’, or our own hang-ups with food and our bodies could affect them.
I mean, if we’re insecure about the way we look, how do we help to ensure that our children grow up with a better self-esteem than we have?
I asked Christine Morgan, CEO of The Butterfly Foundation, about how to try and build your child’s body confidence and help them have a good relationship with food from a young age. She had the following to say about it…
The starting point for this one is how you feel about your own body and self esteem. It really is true that children pick up the attitudes and beliefs of their parents – if we feel bad about ourselves, critical of or restrictive about our eating, and call ourselves ‘fat’ or other negative names then our children will probably end up doing the same. It is also important to remind children from the earliest possible age about their good points which have nothing to do with their looks – their laughter, their smile, what a good friend they are – those sorts of things. They need to understand that a person’s value is not measured by how they look but by who they are. It is also a good idea to let your children have a very varied diet – not good and bad foods but a wide selection with an emphasis on health (but not a fixation). Finally, if you can, try and avoid using food as a reward – although this can be highly tempting it really is sending the wrong message to your child. Food is something we need to fuel our bodies, not our emotions. If we can help our children deal with their emotions other than through food we are providing them with an incredibly strong foundation for a healthy future.
Watch the video above and let me know your thoughts… Do kids absorb all of the mixed messaging we’re sending them about ideals of beauty? Do you think it has an impact on their sense of self? Or do you think they’re oblivious to it all and that it only becomes an issue once they get older?