Did you know that little girls are more frequently complimented on their looks than any other trait? It’s true. As a parent, making your daughter feel beautiful can significantly boost their self-esteem and ensure they don’t rely on the opinions of others to feel comfortable in their skin.
Overall, nurturing a positive body image in little girls can help them become healthy, confident, and well-rounded adults later in life. Ensuring they feel and know they’re beautiful can also help them to focus more on other things in life. Because after all, there are so many more important things in life than appearance.
Here are some tips on how you can help your daughter feel beautiful:
How To Make Your Daughter Feel Beautiful
Model Body Acceptance
Since the day she was born, your daughter has been watching everything you do and say. Because she views you as a role model, she often mimics the things you do and say. This can be a frightening reality for new moms who don’t realize that this is a blessing, not a curse. (If you’re struggling with this, check out my post on how to deal with anxiety as a mom.)
How you view your own body shapes the way your daughter views hers. To help her love her body, you have to learn to love yours. Avoid talking about dieting or complaining about parts of your body. Your daughter could hear that negativity and accept that she has similar problems.
Instead, model body acceptance and self-confidence through your words and actions. Positively talk about your body. Show your daughter that you love your body so that she’s more likely to love her own.
Get Dad Involved
Dads can be role models, too. A girl’s relationship with her father has a significant impact on her self-confidence and body image. A healthy father-daughter relationship helps to promote a girl’s positive self-esteem. Encourage the father figure in your daughter’s life to get involved.
Dads can help by modeling body confidence, as well as showing appreciation for their daughter’s (and mom’s) various non-physical attributes.
Change Your Vocabulary
To make your daughter feel beautiful, you might have to adjust the way you compliment her. Try to be more thoughtful about what you’re saying and how it can be perceived. Choose your compliments carefully.
This is especially important when talking about weight. According to Shira Rosenbluth, a psychotherapist who works with people with eating disorders, “Complimenting weight loss reinforces the myth that being smaller is better.”
Instead, try to give body-positive compliments. Talk with your daughter about how infectious her energy is or how you adore her confident walk.
Talk About Nutrition (Not Calories Or Fat)
Teach your daughter that a beautiful body is a healthy body. Help her to see that food isn’t the enemy, but instead fuel for your body.
Encourage your daughter to have a healthy relationship with food by showing her that good nutrition supports a healthy mind, body, and spirit. Don’t point out calories and fat. Instead, focus on the overall nutrition of specific foods and how they contribute to a healthy diet.
Another effective way to make your daughter feel good about her body and physical appearance is to embrace individuality. Help her to celebrate differences, honor all bodies, and recognize diversity as a positive thing.
Focus On Abilities Instead Of Appearances
As I mentioned earlier, girls are more frequently complimented on their appearance. It’s easy to talk about a girl’s physical attributes. To make a greater impact and help boost her self-confidence, focus on what their body can do, rather than how it looks.
Help your daughter to see the various things that her body allows her to do: strong legs allow you to lift heavy things and long arms are great for carrying several things.
Girls need to learn how to roll with the punches, so to speak. No matter how body-positive your daughter’s environment may be, eventually, kids are going to encounter body shaming.
You can help your daughter counter this negativity by giving her different ways to respond. In some cases, it’s best for your daughter to simply ignore the hate. Other times, you can encourage her to stand up for herself by telling the person that what they said was hurtful or by bluntly stating that their comment was inappropriate. As a parent, you should also be prepared to defend your daughter when body shaming is coming from someone in a position of authority.
I recommend listening to Building Resilience and Finding Joy with Wellness Coach Rachel Rhee for more tips on this specific topic!
Normalize Body Changes
As your daughter goes through puberty and her teen years, she will experience numerous physical changes. Not only will she grow taller, but the amount of estrogen in her body will increase, leading to a higher percentage of body fat. This is a completely normal and expected part of puberty.
It’s important to talk to your daughter about the changes she can expect as she grows and matures. Giving your daughter an idea of what to expect will make it easier for her to accept these changes as they happen.
Every girl and woman deserves to feel beautiful; your daughter just needs a little help.
As her mom, you have a lot of power over how your daughter feels about herself. You’re doing a good job! The fact that you’re reading this post is proof enough that you love and care about your daughter. Putting a little extra effort toward boosting your daughter’s self-confidence goes a long way, especially in a world where society is practically begging to bring her down.
To read more about parenting, including ways to raise a confident and resilient daughter, head over to the blog.