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Real Talk: Body confidence
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Real Talk: Body confidence
July 3, 2018
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Real Talk: Body confidence
July 3, 2018
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Recently and rather unnervingly, my 5-year old daughter has started dropping the F-word into conversation. Thankfully I don’t mean that F-word (although, give me a few years and I’m sure I’ll have to contend with it). No, I mean “fat”. At first it was harmless, innocuous comments like the “Ooh you’ve got a fat belly”, trilled out in singsong fashion as she watched me get dressed in the mornings (so much for my twice weekly gym sessions then), but lately it’s become more loaded.

In the car the other day Edie made a remark about her own “big belly” being “yucky”. Aside from my eyes pricking with tears at the thought that she could ever think her own wonderful, soft, sweet, 5-year old little belly was anything but that, I immediately felt like I wanted to stop the car, erase her negative comments and drill into her that she is just perfect as she is. But then I stopped myself, and instead of taking a heavy-handed approach, dismissed it casually and changed the subject. As I’ve learnt over the last 5 years, parenting a bright, strong-willed little girl requires a tactical approach to get through to them and to gently reverse any negative thoughts and feelings.

“Do drop gentle body image thoughts and conversation starters into chat in a light-hearted way”

Talking things through on their term and at the right time is so important — whether it’s chit-chatting about people we admire (for more than just their looks) while we’re assembling her Lego Millenium Falcon, or helping her to realise bodies come in all shapes and sizes while we’re playing with her Barbies. Since that comment in the car I’ve been drip-feeding positive body messages into my conversations with Edie. It may take a little time but I hope that she’ll soon start to realise that the reason she is quite so beautiful and clever and strong and special is down to so much more than just her body.

Dos and Don’ts:

• Don’t tackle a big subject matter like this when they’re distracted, hungry or irritable
• Do drop gentle body image thoughts and conversation starters into chat in a light-hearted way
• Do use examples of people you know being comfortable in their skin, regardless of their physical appearance
• Do overstate the importance of other attributes, both your daughter’s and acquaintances – their smile, their confidence, their strength

Georgia Day
@georgialday
Head of Editorial & Content @ Space NK, freelance beauty writer and ex-ELLE beauty editor
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