Monday, October 17, 2011

Pledge To Build Your Daughter's Self-Esteem

Does your daughter believe that real beauty comes
in all shapes, colors and sizes?
You probably have heard of Dove's Campaign For Real Beauty. Based on the findings of a global study, Dove launched its wildly successful advertising campaign in 2004 that "started a global conversation about the need for a wider definition of beauty after the study proved the hypothesis that the definition of beauty had become limiting and unattainable."

In 2011, Dove released the findings of its largest global study to date on women’s relationship with beauty—The Real Truth About Beauty: Revisited. The study revealed that only 4% of women around the world consider themselves beautiful, and that anxiety about looks begins at an early age. In a study of over 1,200 10-to-17-year-olds, a majority of girls, 72%, said they felt tremendous pressure to be beautiful. The study also found that only 11% of girls around the world feel comfortable using the word beautiful to describe their looks, showing that there is a universal increase in beauty pressure and a decrease in girls' confidence as they grow older. Though Dove's efforts have moved the needle in a positive direction, there is more to be done.

Modeling the type of attitudes we want our
girls to possess is the best way to help them
achieve those character traits.
And that's why I'm writing today. Dove is planning a Self-Esteem Weekend this coming weekend October 21st - 23rd. I know you all spend plenty of time with the girls in your life teaching them that it's who they are and not what they look like that's important. I know you probably spend lots of time encouraging your girls to be strong, powerful, independent and brave. I'm sure you even remind your daughters, nieces and cousins that girls can be scientists, fight fires and even climb mountains. But what I'm asking you to do is to take a look at the Dove Pledge Map and commit an hour to focusing on a self-esteem building activity with a girl in your life during the weekend of October 21st-23rd. Parents lead by example, and pledging to spend an hour with a specific focus is an easy way to help foster positive self-image and confidence in the next generation of women. 

Need some ideas? Here are some cool ones from their website:
How will you help give your daughter
a strong self-image?
  • Have your girls take a photo of themselves in a thinking pose, print out the photo. Also have them cut out a piece of white paper like a thought bubble! Using markers, cut-outs from magazines, or printed letters with colorful fun fonts, spell out the word, ‘’B-E-A-U-T-Y’’ vertically down the thought bubble. Have the girls create an acronym for the word, "Beauty.’’ They can use a sentence or a word such as, B is for Believing in Yourself and E is for Excellent Attitude. Glue the thought bubble and photo on a piece of larger, colorful paper and it becomes a poster/reminder of what is beautiful to each girl.
  • Mutually Complement one another. Share five things you like about one another and five things you each like about yourself. Focus on physicality, personality and character trait.
  • Send a girl in your life out with confident reminders by making a Boost Book: Decorate a notebook or sketchpad together and keep a log of inspiring quotations, compliments and positive comments other people have made about the girl in your life. Tuck in a few favorite photos or mementos that remind her of moments when she felt confident and beautiful or just had a great time.
  • Create an Inspiration Board together by collecting articles, magazine tear-outs and news clippings that represent issues surrounding self-esteem. Create a collage of positive messages and images, and keep it in a visible place as both an inspiration board and a reminder of how individuality makes everyone beautiful
  • There are tons of great activities and ideas for ways to spend this weekend (and any special time) with your daughters on this toolkit and resource page. I know the tags say they are for girls ages 8 and up, but really, I believe you can do many of the activities with your little ones. I think it's never too early to let our girls know how awesome they are...just as they are.
And speaking of awesome, here a few terrific websites whose content can help us all raise strong, confident girls who believe in themselves no matter what:
    Pigtail Pals by the very kickass Melissa Wardy who is dedicated to "changing the way we think about girls".
    Parenting Pink great articles on raising strong girls
    7Wonderlicious (and their blog, Empowering Girls)
    You'd Be So Pretty If great body image advice for mothers
    Commercial Free Childhood Reclaiming Childhood From Corporate Marketers is their slogan
    Parent Girls a blog by Nancy Gruver, creator of New Moon Girls

    I'd love to hear about who inspires your self-confidence. Tell us what you do with the girls in your life to help them know how special they are. And tell us if you plan to take the pledge this weekend and how you'll spend that hour!

    Thanks for reading,
    The Twin Coach

    I was not compensated in any way by Dove for this post. I just believe strongly in the value of this message and in our collective power to make a positive change for our daughters.
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