Dads & Daughters & Body Image: Part 2

StLouisA.jpgLooking for ways to boost your daughter’s confidence?

Dr. Margo D. Maine’s book  Father Hunger: Fathers, Daughters, and the Pursuit of Thinness, has simple ideas on how dads and stepdads can help in the realm of body image.

Here’s the second round of tips (I shared the first the first round here; look for more tomorrow):

7. Teach her to say no and set limits. This will prepare her for situations that might compromise or even endanger her.

8. Help your daughter develop values other than consumerism. Share some of yours and create opportunities to enjoy nature, reading, the arts, sports, music, cultivation of friendships, volunteerism, or other activities.

9. Show respect for real women of substance. Be aware of your attitudes toward women, their appearance, and their achievements. Point out the contributions women make in your community or family.

10. Watch what you say about women’s bodies. Criticizing women’s weight and appearance has become a normal activity; you may not realize the power of what you say to your daughter.

11. Be Your Brother’s Keeper. Challenge your male friends and associates when they show disrespect for women, objectify them, or make sexist remarks. A little bit of this can go a long way to helping to create a better world for your daughter.

12. Promote respect for all shapes and sizes. Weightism is rampant today. Take stock of your attitudes toward fat people. Become aware of your prejudices and work to change them.

13. Examine your own weight, eating, or body image issues. Men are not immune to these concerns, as they are experiencing more and more pressure around appearance today. Make peace with your own body and treat it well.

14. Maintain a diet-free home. Encourage enjoyment of food, moderate exercise, and a healthy, balanced lifestyle. Rules about food only backfire and contribute to eating and weight problems.

15. Emphasize inner beauty. Talk about what you value in people and in her. Help her to see that she is more than an image to you.

16. Become more media-literate. Discuss unrealistic images when you see them on billboards, TV or at the movies. Help her to identify and reject the distortions in visual media. Join organizations like the Campaign for Commercial-Free Childhood.

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