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Parents and caretakers:

You already know I think you are all an amazing job raising kids, but I’ve noticed an alarming trend among young girls and their concern over their images. From the age of four in particular, they’re conscious of how they look — of course they are as this is the age where they get to choose their clothes, help dress themselves and tell you which hairstyle they want.

Moms and female caretakers, as young girls develop this image consciousness, it’s essential you’re on your guard about your own body image. If you see part of your body you’d like to change, that’s fine. We can all say ‘I could do with working on my arms,’ for example, but there’s a big difference between having a healthy dislike of certain parts of your body and self-loathing.

But you must try to ban saying ‘I hate my…’ because your children hear you and they start to self-analyze. They start to wonder which parts of their body they “don’t like.” And that’s a slippery slope. It’s lovely when children want to be clean, tidy and well groomed, so don’t discourage a youngster who takes pride in her appearance, but never criticize your own appearance in front of her.

Dads and male caretakers, it is important that you have a hand in being a role model in this aspect of a girls’ life as well. This starts with teaching your daughters confidence, strength, and a good self-esteem. We need to raise our kids to be healthy, not only on the outside, but on the inside too.

Though this trend is mainly in young girls, boys are becoming more conscious at younger ages as well. It’s important to think well of yourself both inside and out, start healthy habits (both mentally and physically) and never criticize, or put down the physical characteristics of yourself our a child. It could do more harm in the long run and counteract all of the positive messages we try to instill in our children every day.

Copywritten by Jo Frost

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