How I want my Daughter to deal with Body Image
What I want my daughter to know
Dealing with Body Image Expectations
7 Things I want my Daughter to know
...when dealing with Society's Body Image
I am a father of a 4-year-old girl. When I ask her how much I love her, she knows to reply “more than everything.” I am so proud of her, I’m not even sure how the emotions can fit into my body. I know the insecurities this world can put on people; particularly for young women. I am already an overprotective dad, but the best thing I can do is raise her right. I’m not going to always be there. She needs to be able to make rational choices. I know I’m a big influence on her development. She repeats everything that comes out of my mouth. That can be a good and bad thing. I want to make sure that when I'm not around anymore, my princess knows how to live her life. I will try to instill as much in her as I can. I hope what I teach her will stick. Here are the 7 Things I try to teach her:
1. Nobody is perfect
To me, she is perfect. She’s wearing a halo and prancing around the house. She’s a troublemaker, but even when she makes me angry she can do no wrong. However, the fact of the matter is that I don’t want her striving for perfection. I only want her striving to be her best. That’s all anyone can really do. This society bases perfection from what the media tells them. As a man, I see the women used in advertisements and movies. I don’t want her to base what the best her is by what she sees in magazines. I want her to be healthy. The best her is not based on her dress size. The important thing is, I don’t want her striving to get the perfect body at the expense of her health.
2. Set attainable goals
She doesn’t need to be unreasonable. I want her to just work on being healthy. She can do a lot of good things with her body! I’d like her to make sure that what she decides is realistic and attainable. If not, she can become physically and/or emotionally sick. She is not going to lose 100 lbs. in a month in a healthy manner. I teach her to only set goals that lead to who she wants to be. I try to teach her not to be who she thinks the world wants her to be.
3. Don’t compare yourself to others
I want my little girl to be the best she can be if I haven’t said that enough times by now - and base this on what is best for her. I want her to take everyone else out of the equation. Comparing herself to others is like a toddler trying to stuff a star in a triangle on a Shape-O ball toy. Their life is not her life. If it doesn’t fit in her life, then toss it aside.
4. Love and respect yourself
We all do it. We doubt. We start hating on ourselves. We aren’t losing weight fast enough. We have skin tags or moles. Our hands are too big or small. We put ourselves down. Again, take everyone else out of the equation. She is worth the time and energy she puts into herself. She is a worthy human being, and nobody is like her. She is unique. She should take the time to take care of herself. I want her to respect her body and its limitations.
5. Have gratitude
I don’t want her to get wrapped up in the way she wishes things were. She should only try to control what she can control. I want her to say “thank you” every day when she wakes up. She should be thankful for what she can do with the body she has. Be thankful that she has the ability to improve herself and her body every day. Be thankful that although she has limitations, she can work beyond them with practice and hard work.
6. Be picky about the men she dates
This is probably what every dad wants for his daughter. If they don’t respect her, then kick them to the curb. I know she won’t listen to dad when he doesn’t approve, so I have to trust that she is making the right decision for herself. If he’s not buying her flowers, then he’s not worth her time. I want her to make sure she is with a man that loves and respects her. I don’t want her to be with a man just because he’s telling her what she wants to hear. She should make sure that the attention he is giving her is out of respect for who she is as a person, and not just her body. I know I’m not the best father sometimes, but I try to act like the man that I think she should have in her life. I tell her I love her every chance I get. I always try to make her laugh. I hold her when she is sad. I hope every day that I’m doing enough.
7. Get me some grandchildren! (After she gets married in her 30’s of course)
She will always be my Sweet Pea. I understand that when she starts dating, I won’t be the number one man in her life. She’s already had 3 boyfriends since age 2. I told her to tell Johnny from Pre-school that he should “get a job!” No matter what she chooses to do, I will love and respect her and her decisions. Because of this, I’m going to need little ones I can spoil someday. She shouldn’t worry about what pregnancy does to her body. She should just worry about love.
There is only so much I can do for my daughter. I know there will come a time when I either can't much for her, or she won't allow me to. That's okay because I want her to be the woman and person that she wants to be. It's hard for a father to get moved to the back seat and take a perspective on his daughter. I know the reality. She will have times where she will have insecurities about her body. This is something that worries me because I can't stand to think that she isn't good enough. To me, she will always be my perfect baby girl.
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Rick is a Social Worker, veteran, husband, and father. He decided to start blogging and vlogging at the beginning of this year to reach a larger audience. My main goal is to make this world a better place, and to help people heal their invisible wounds. Check out his blog here.