Hey #GirlMoms….this one is for you!
I teach kids fitness classes and I love to ask thought provoking questions from my little charges. Recently, I asked a 10 year old girl, “Who is your hero?” She quickly replied, “My Mom!” Cue the heart melting! I followed up with the question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” Her answer broke my heart, “Skinny and pretty like Selena Gomez.” I asked her why. “Because everyone likes her,” she said. My heart sank.
Let me clarify, my heart didn’t sink because she said Selena Gomez. She sure can belt a tune! My heart sank because of her reasons – “skinny”, “pretty”, “because everyone likes her.” Her talents were never mentioned. In her mind, people will like you if you’re pretty and skinny. She believes those attributes are included in the “cool kid” criteria. An even larger concern is the body shaming that almost immediately follows. Comments such as, “I’ll never be that pretty”, “Yuck, my belly”, or “If only I looked like her.” As a teacher, I’ve sadly heard these comments too often.
Why not Wonder Woman, Eleanor Roosevelt, Rosa Parks, or Venus and Serena Williams? Women whose beauty comes from their strong MIND, HEART and MUSCLES. They are #GirlStrong. Where does this mentality come from? Society and selfies. I don’t think this is breaking news to any of you. So, what’s my point? I’m not here to pick on why our precious little girls think this way. Rather, I’m hoping to bring awareness to more SuperMoms and empower everyone to teach our girls that STRONG minds, hearts and muscles are pretty and, in fact, really cool!
What can we do on the home front to help shape our girls’ confidence? It may seem like a never ending battle against social media and school friends, but there are some small things you can do every day that will help!
- Moms (and Dads), check yourself, before you wreck yourself! Most people chuckle when hearing that lyric, but it really is true in this context. This just means to watch what you say about your own body in front of your little ones. Ladies, when it comes to body love, we are often our own worst critic. That’s another blog for another day. Just remember, your girls look up to you, watch your actions, and listen to your words. Think before your speak about your own body. If it’s not positive, don’t speak it. Try to implement this rule even with friends, on the phone with friends, or when you’re alone. Those little gals, and guys, are just around the corner! Oh, and Dads….celebrate Mom’s strengths in front of the whole family!
- Talk about what you CAN do, not what you wish for. If you reach a new fitness goal, such as running a farther distance, celebrate that in front of your family! Did you fix something around the house that normally Dad would take care of? Hoot, holler and do a happy dance! Even something as simple as finishing a large book or volunteering locally, be proud and tell your kiddos! Celebrate your unique mind, muscle and heart STRENGTH. The human body is amazing and it’s important to make sure our kids understand what it can accomplish. Moms, you are a superhero to your daughter. So, tell her how strong YOU are! Trust me, she wants to know and it will give her another reason to be just like you when she grows up!
- Celebrate your daughters’ accomplishments! The same can be said for our sons too. Did they jump high, read a long book, run fast, do something really sweet for their sibling, help with chores or home repairs? Awesome! Make it a big deal!
- Limit device time. This helps limit the amount of selfies and time on social media outlets.
We’ve always envisioned our little ones, boys and girls, growing up strong and confident! Recognition goes a long way and kiddos will start to realize being strong isn’t just in our muscles. Being strong includes the mind and heart. They’ll start to tap into their own unique strengths, and will smile because of it. Most importantly, they’ll realize being #GirlStrong really is pretty and cool!
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