Sandy Galea from Kidswise shares 10 wise tips as we seek to raise godly, ‘body healthy’ girls.
1. Use the word ‘beautiful’ to describe godly behaviour in your daughter and the women around them. For example: ‘It was beautiful when you shared your toys.’ ‘Saying sorry is beautiful to God.’ ‘That woman is such a beautiful woman. She always looks out for people who are sitting by themselves at Church.‘ Try not to use the word when describing outward appearance.
2. Mother’s be honest. Tell your daughters what parts of your own body you like and what parts you don’t like. Encourage her to be honest. Then ask God to help both of you be thankful to God for the way he has made you.
3. How much time does your daughter see you spend in front of the mirror?
4. Teach your daughter about modesty from a young age. When buying clothes ask: ‘Is this modest? Is it too tight? Is it too short? Is my belly showing? Is it too low in the front?……’ Little girls who dress modestly will be more likely to grow to be women who dress modestly. Show your daughter how important modesty. Be prepared to buy a more expensive outfit if it means your daughter will be modestly dressed.
5. Stop and think about how often you talk about weight? Your own weight, the weight of family members, the weight of friends, people on TV, people in magazines…etc.
6. Come down hard on teasing or ‘friendly joking’ based on weight or body ‘imperfections’.
7. Talk about eating a healthy balanced diet, not the fat content of every item in the fridge.
8. Talk about gluttony and greed (as your daughter consumes her fifth Tim Tam), not the weight they might gain.
9. Talk about self-control when your daughter impulsively fridge grazes. Delayed gratification is an important characteristic to develop in your daughter. Teach your daughter not to give in at the first hint of hunger, instead to wait and eat with the family. Saying to ‘no’ when temptations are small will help her to learn to say ‘no’ when temptations are bigger.
10. Celebrate God’s gifts – being a woman, being creative, the sheer variety of colours and fabrics God has given us to use and enjoy… Balance is very important.
Written by Sandy Galea © Kidswise. Sandy is the Children’s Minister at MBM Rooty Hill Anglican Church.
* Bringing Up Girls, by James Dobson
* How To Really Love Your Child, by Ross Campbell
* Melinda Tankard Reist’s web site is an excellent place to begin to looking at the issue of the sexualisation of girls in the media and how we as parents can combat this.