I’m on the brink of tweendom with my young girl (almost 8) and it won’t be long before we embark on the awkward adventure of puberty. Oh, I’m sure it will be a few years before “the changes” occur but if I’m going to prepare my girl (and myself) for what is to come, I know I need to start now.
Actually, my delicate journey of raising a girl began the day she was born. From the moment I dressed up our little princess in her picture perfect newborn outfits to the first time I ooh’d and ah’d as she danced and twirled and right up until I send her off all dressed up for prom, her eyes will be on me, the most important role model she will ever have.
A girl’s view of herself and her body is most importantly found in her mother. Like it or not, they are watching our every move from a very young age, taking notes and learning from us how to love and care for their bodies.
I admit, not being completely in love with the body I walk around in daily, I haven’t done a perfect job modeling this for my young girl. But in my struggle, I’ve learned a few things about how to help my girl (and myself) love who God made her to be.
We’ll be digging deeper into this topic for tween girls over on the FaithGateway blog later this month. For now, here are 4 simple ways to start your journey off well as you promote a positive body image for your young girl.
Affirm her appearance. Tell her clearly and often that she is beautiful. Every 2 year old thinks she looks perfect, no matter what over-the-top dress-up concoction or crazy hair is staring back at her in the mirror. But the older she gets, the more she’ll begin to doubt the reflection she sees. Tell her she’s beautiful when she wouldn’t expect it. . .at the end of a tough day or as soon as she wakes up in the morning, for example. Highlight her most special features with your words, turning her attention toward her most lovely traits early on.
Teach her what God Says. As young as possible, teach her to memorize scripture that reminds her of the truth of her identity in Christ.
“I praise you because you made me in an amazing and wonderful way.” Psalm 139:14
“Your beauty should come from within you – the beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit. This beauty will never disappear and it is worth very much to God.” 1 Peter 3:4
“He has made everything beautiful in its time.” Ecclesiastes 3:11
“The King loves your beauty. . .” Psalm 45:11a
“God does not see the same way people see. People look at the outside of a person, but the Lord looks at the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7
Point her towards positive media. Let’s face it, we can’t avoid the media with even our youngest girls. But we can point them towards positive messages. Books such as the incredible Brave Girls series are wonderful tools for teaching our girls how to be all God created them to be. The Brave Girls have a brand new devotional book, Beautiful You that is perfect for encouraging girls age 6-10 to be confident in body and mind because we are daughters of a great heavenly Father. For younger girls, try the adorable book, God Made Me This Way which explores how fearfully and wonderfully God has made all of His creations.
Watch what you say. About her appearance, her body and yours! Our young girls are not only affected by what we say about them, they are also influenced by how we talk about and treat our own bodies. Do we talk about dieting often? Complain about being “fat”? I know this can be so hard when we’re dealing with our own insecurities but for the sake of our girls, let’s learn to love, take care of and speak well of ourselves!
If we can teach our daughters from a very young age to love the beautifully unique girls God made them to be, perhaps we’ll learn ourselves how to embrace the perfectly imperfect daughters we are.
How are you being intentional about promoting positive body image for your young girl?