Photographer Kate Parker doesn't want her daughters, Alice, 6, and Ella, 9, to be what society expects them to be. If they don't want to parade around in princess dresses, they don't have to. She Read
I don’t have a daughter yet, but I sure do have a mother; a mother who did the best she could to protect me and teach me how to succeed in my own right.
I know it wasn’t always easy, especially around the topic of food and weight. How could she give me clear advice, when perhaps (like most women) she was struggling to figure out how she should feel about her own body, or how she should manage and relate to food?
Here are five things to teach your daughter when you get tripped up and aren’t sure of yourself:
1. It’s not about the way she looks; it’s about the way she feels.
When helping your daughter make choices about food, always ask her what would feel best in her body. Never bring up weight or numbers, but teach her to respect her own biology. Teach her to honor the wisdom coming from inside of herself.
2. There are no bad foods.
When we reprimand, shame, or second-guess a choice that a child has made for themselves, they hear that something’s wrong with them — that they can’t trust themselves around food. When we grow up without trusting ourselves, we lose touch with our intuition, and ultimately fall into anxiety and rebellious behavior with food (and in life). Empower your daughter to make healthy choices all on her own. I promise she will figure it out if you let her.
3. Her weight is always perfect (even when you think it isn’t).
Giving a child a reason to feel badly about herself is always counterproductive. If her health is at risk because of her weight, focus on helping her make choices that will make her feel better, without getting into the numbers, and always let her know that she's beautiful just the way she is.
4. What she eats is irrelevant — why she eats is far more important.
If she’s in touch with her body, and making hunger-based, intuitive choices (given an array of healthful options) she’s probably just fine. If you suspect she’s eating for emotional reasons, help her process those feelings without making it “about the food.” Because it’s really not about the food...
5. Be a role model.
If you struggle with your own body image or your own relationship with food, make a priority of creating a relationship with food that you would want your daughter to model. I know this is easier said than done, but with the right resources, you’ll be amazed by what is possible for you.
My first recommendation? Download my guide to “not eating chocolate cake” at www.isabelfoxenduke.com.
Photo Credit: Shutterstock.com