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Health Information For Parents
“Mom, you’re beautiful.” That’s what the vast majority — about 90% — of girls surveyed by KidsHealth had to say about their mothers. And the feeling is mutual: Just about as many moms tell their girls that they’re beautiful.
On the flipside, though, only 41% of girls would call themselves “pretty” or “beautiful.” Among moms, 60% say they’re beautiful and 40% say they’re not. More than half of moms say they’ve criticized their own appearance, many in front of their daughters. Of those who were self-critical, 76% said they complained out loud that they needed to lose weight. And roughly 50% of both moms and daughters don’t like the way they look in a selfie.
In the KidsHealth survey, we heard from 2,400 moms and 11,500 daughters, many of whom had mixed feelings about the way they look. Finding so many similarities between how they view themselves makes you wonder: Like mother, like daughter?
“A mother’s self-image greatly influences how her daughter views herself,” says D’Arcy Lyness, PhD, a child and adolescent psychologist and behavioral health editor at KidsHealth. In the survey, many girls reported worrying about their looks a lot throughout the day, sometimes “constantly.”
“All that concern over looks erodes a girl’s self-esteem,” Dr. Lyness says. “When girls are hard on themselves about how they look, it makes it difficult for them to love and accept themselves — and this prevents them from being and doing their best.”
If you want to help improve your daughter’s outlook, start with your own. Avoid criticizing how you look or how others look. Treat yourself well by eating right, exercising, and taking it easy on yourself. No one can live up to that unattainable image of beauty that many of us hold — but all of us can strive to feel mostly good about our looks most of the time.
Here are some more tips:
When girls (and moms) don’t put too much focus on their looks, they can enjoy the more important parts of life that really count.
GirlsHealth.gov, developed by the U.S. Office on Women’s Health, offers girls between the ages of 10 and 16 information about growing up, food and fitness, and relationships.
ACE promotes active, healthy lifestyles by setting certification and education standards for fitness instructors and through ongoing public education about the importance of exercise.
ChooseMyPlate.gov provides practical information on how to follow the U.S. government’s Dietary Guidelines for Americans. It includes resources and tools to help families lead healthier lives.
Find out what the experts have to say.
For some people, worries about appearance become extreme and upsetting, interfering with their lives, a condition called body dysmorphic disorder.
It takes confidence to be a kid. And while each child is a little different, parents can follow some general guidelines to build kids’ confidence.
When you’re growing up, lots of changes happen and everyone wonders: Am I normal?
Being overweight has become a serious problem for many kids and adults. Find out what it means to be overweight in this article just for kids.
Help your daughter prepare for the changes that puberty will bring before she takes her first steps toward adulthood.
It’s normal to wish you could change something about your body. Find out more about these feelings in this article for kids.
“What’s the right weight for my child?” is one of the most common questions parents have. It seems like a simple one, but it’s not always easy to answer.
When your body changes, so can your image of yourself. Find out how your body image affects your self-esteem and what you can do.
A healthy and positive body image means liking your body, appreciating it, and feeling grateful for its qualities and capabilities. Parents can help kids develop a healthy body image.
Eating too little or deliberately throwing up after eating are two serious kinds of eating disorders. Find out more in this article for kids.
Lots of images may come to mind when you think of plastic surgery. This special type of surgery involves a person’s appearance and ability to function.
What is dieting and should kids do it, too? Find out in this article for kids.
Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.
© 1995-2017 KidsHealth® All rights reserved.
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