Body Positivity Versus Body Neutrality
Let’s get one thing straight before we begin: it’s alright not to adore your body every day. Everybody has days when they feel uneasy! And occasionally, body image difficulties make it difficult for us to love our bodies. If you don’t feel comfortable appreciating your body, you might strive for body neutrality instead.
Body neutrality is the concept that individuals should attempt to accept their bodies even if they don’t love them. It focuses on what our bodies do for us, such as allowing us to move about, listen to music, and go about our daily lives. When your children are struggling to accept their bodies for what they can do, attempt to educate them to accept their bodies for what they can do.
- Don’t Say Anything Negative About Yourself
It might be difficult to look in the mirror and not criticize yourself. You’ve been told for years that a person should appear a specific way because society dictates what a “normal” or “standard” physique should look like. From those visuals are everything but conventional. Everything is a lie. If you’ve had a baby, you’ve definitely seen commercials or advertisements for creams and oils that minimize the look of stretch marks, or magazine covers that advise you on how to get back to your pre-baby form.
It might be difficult to change the voice in your brain but try your hardest. Your children will observe how you regard and handle your body. They will reflect your activities and attitude toward yourself.
Demonstrate to your children that you, too, require time for yourself! Do some self-care, set some limits with your children, and teach them that it’s okay to put yourself first every now and again. When you demonstrate the importance of self-care to your children, they will grow up knowing it as well.
If you demonstrate that you love yourself, your children will follow your example and love themselves as well! When self-love does not seem right, self-acceptance will suffice. It appears to be quite easy, yet it is really effective.
- Validate Your Children’s Fears, Then Teach Positivity
Remember how we spoke about the tiny voice in our brains that loves to pull us apart? Kids, too, have bad days. If they come to you with insecurities, it’s critical that you validate their sentiments. Rather than pushing a positive perspective (remember the body neutrality?), remind them it’s acceptable to feel that way. Sometimes just being validated is enough to make them feel better! When they feel validated, you may focus on educating them about self-love.
- Give Them Praise
This is a wonderful way to show your youngster how proud you are of them! This will give them a nice and fuzzy feeling on the inside since praise shows them that they did a wonderful job and made you pleased!
You should keep the following in mind, however:
Don’t over-praise: praising them excessively defeats the point of appreciation in the first place. After a time, it begins to sound hollow and phone. If your child performs poorly in a soccer game, tell him or her, “I know you had a tough game today, but I’m still incredibly proud of you for giving it your all.” That is all that is important.”
Don’t only applaud results: if your child gets an A on a quiz, that’s fantastic! That’s fantastic for them! But don’t merely acknowledge the outcome of their work. Recognize their efforts as well. Did they have a positive attitude despite losing a game? Did they work particularly hard on a project or spend a lot of time practicing their instrument for a recital? Praise the effort they put into something rather than the finished product.
- Make an “I Love Myself” Jar
This is a fantastic method to educate your youngster to appreciate themselves! Every day, have your children write something they appreciate about themselves on a sheet of paper. If they don’t feel like loving themselves that day, they might attempt something more neutral. Then place it in a container. You can decorate the jar however they want to make it unique and fun for them to have. You may open the jar at the end of each week or every two weeks (you choose) and read all of the wonderful great things your kids wrote about themselves.
They not only reinforce their self-image every day, but they also hit the jackpot of affection when they read all of their letters at once! They are reminded of their awesomeness and the importance of loving themselves every day! They’ll eventually begin to internalize such messages when they encounter a world that tells them they’re not good enough the way they are. Because of this practice, they’ll remember why they’re good enough!
- Watch Self-Esteem and Self-Love Videos Together
Seeing other individuals talk about self-esteem and self-love may make your child understand, “Hey, this is a genuine thing, not something my parents made up!” It adds weight and credibility to the topic you’re seeking to convey.
YouTube is an excellent resource with tones of great videos on this topic. They provide hundreds of movies for kids and parents on almost every topic you can think of!
Rose .A. Milani,
Parent Coach and Registered Mental Health Counsellor
Based in Melbourne, Australia