|Is it possible to steer your child clear of self-image|
issues when you are still working through your own?
I remember a well-intentioned great aunt telling me I could "stop traffic" if I would just lose some weight. I remember that moment so well that I can still picture the corner we were standing on, the feeling in my stomach, even the brown, Frye boots I was wearing.
As a child, women all around me struggled with their own body image issues and no one ever talked about it except to talk about dieting. I grew up internalizing that how I looked was not okay. Now I look at my 6-year old daughter, whose body is like mine in many ways, and wonder how self-image will unfold for her.
Society is different in many ways than it was when I was her age, but does that mean things for girls are easier these days? Or has raising a daughter who feels comfortable in her own skin gotten even harder than it was just a generation ago? And how can we teach our boys to treat girls with respect if all they are shown is that a girl's main value is her looks? And what about our boys? Can they show emotions, be sweet and sincere or do they risk being dropped from the inner circle of cool?
Our culture generally accepts a particular standard of beauty and a narrow definition of masculinity without question, and it is passed on from generation to generation. Media perpetuates it, and these stereotypes are subtly (or not so subtly) shown to our children in every way from the movies they watch to the magazines that lie on our coffee tables.
How can we raise our boys and girls to feel connected to their inner worth when all around them they are told that it is what is on the outside that matters? How can we teach them to be sincere and be themselves when they are bombarded with messages that being who they are isn't necessarily enough?