If your daughter has a body image problem, you will probably want to spot and fix it quickly so that it does not lead to serious illness or problems for her. Many parents are oblivious to their daughter’s self image problem until it has escalated to the point where they are starving themselves, purging, over exercising, etc. So, the following are some tips for first how to spot a body image problem with your daughter, and secondly how to fix it:
How to spot the problem:
Have regular conversations with your daughter. It is hard to spot a problem like this if you are not actively involved in your child’s life. So, make a point of asking how their day is each day. Ask about their social life, their goals, ambitions, etc. If you do this you will learn to sense when they are depressed, upset, or not happy about something in their life.
Pay attention to their body comments. A lot of girls say things about their body unconsciously. If you find that the overall tone about their body is negative, it is time to step in and ask them to be more positive. If you do not see improvement, you should suspect a problem. If they get new clothes and say they look fat in them, or if when they get a compliment on a shirt they complain about how it makes their arms look flabby, do not think nothing of it, think everything of it!
Pay attention to their diet. When your six year old starts asking for the low fat option it means one of two things: you are a bad example, or they have a body image problem. Being healthy and smart about your food is different from being worried about it. So, make sure your child is not counting calories, totally avoiding sweets, or anything else extreme like that.
In general, the way to spot a problem with body image with your daughter is simply to pay attention. She will exhibit plenty of signs, the biggest of which is usually negative comments to themselves, and about themselves.
How to fix the problem:
If the problem has escalated to problematic proportions (such as an eating disorder) then you should get them counseling.
Be a good example. If your daughter has a body image problem you have to help them out of it through example. Show them how to have a positive body image. You will want to speak positive about yourself. You will want to feel good in your own skin so your daughter will feel good in hers. Children learn from example, so be a good one.
Encourage healthy eating. If you want your daughter to love her body, give her one to love through preparing healthy meals, not overdoing the refined, sugared, unhealthy foods, but not going overboard either.
Give compliments. One of the reasons girls go into downward body image cycles is because they get the compliments and recognition when they are thin, overly beautiful etc. not when they are normal. So, help them feel good about how they usually are, not just when they are dressed up or ready to go out.
Talk to them. A lot of times negative body image problems come from a lack of self esteem in general, not just about their body, so talk to your daughter, help her understand her self worth. Help her recognize she is needed, that she offers something special and unique to your family. If you value her, eventually she will begin to value herself.