My daughter starting school has been a huge eye opener for me in seeing how other women think and mother. Having worked in the area of mothers and daughters and self-esteem for many years I am shocked at how many mums still unwittingly transfer their issues to their daughters. Just this morning the mother of one of my daughter’s friends spent 10 minutes telling me how her ‘chubby’ daughter needed to lose weight and how she’d started to limit her packed lunch. Said ‘chubby’ child is a tiny 5 year old who’s school skirt hangs on her hips.
Another mum discussed within her child’s earshot how she was saving for laser hair therapy as her five year old was so hairy and would obviously need it. And another said her daughter was clearly rubbish at school like she was.
I know these mothers aren’t being mean but it just makes me want to scream really loudly when I hear stuff like this. Having had a mother who was fixated with diets and passed her anxieties about weight and body image to me from as young as 10 years I am ever aware at how much girls pick up from their mothers. And it is very much a mother/daughter thing as I notice not much talk ever goes on about boys being too hairy, chubby/overweight or not bright.
Which is why I think if you have a daughter you do have to be careful about what you say and do (and I do include myself in this). If you complain about ‘feeling fat’ or be too critical about how your daughter looks don’t be surprised when her self esteem plummets. If you do have anxieties about weight, body image, it’s really worth checking out Dove’s brilliant work on how as a mother you can help girls foster a healthy self esteem. They have two excellent guides for on body confidence made especially for mothers and daughters.
So what do you think? As mums should we be more aware of what we say and do? If so, what’s your best tip for helping your girls to be body confident?