Re: How to Encourage Positive Body Image and Self Esteem?
I don't think there's an easy answer to this, particularly because there are so many outside influences that affect our kids. Some things we do:
1) Most important, model a positive self-image. I don't complain about my body or ask "does this make me look fat?" or things like that. I don't compare myself negatively to other women. We don't talk about dieting, or talk about other people's weight. We talk about food in terms of health, and don't label foods "good" or "bad." Personally, I don't wear makeup (although I'm not bashing anyone who does), and when dd has asked me about it, I've told her that I think that everyone looks nice just the way they are.
2) We keep fashion magazines and celebrity magazines out of the house. I don't want dd seeing those kinds of images and thinking that that's how women are supposed to look.
3) We tell her she's beautiful not only when she's dressed up or fancy, but also when she's working hard or sweaty or just hanging around. Of course, we try to focus our attention not on her looks but on other things--her creativity, her intelligence, her physical strength, etc.
4) We try to minimize the amount of advertising she's exposed to. We don't leave the TV on as background. Any shows that she's allowed to watch, she watches commercial-free on Netflix. If she's watching something like a sporting event with us, we mute the commercials so she's not so interested in them.