My five year old daughter trying to hold her breath and suck in her tummy for a photo woke me up to the realization that a lot of what she does is learned by observing me.

She did this yesterday and I was completely shocked and a little bit disturbed!

I had a conversation with her last night and told her that she looks absolutely normal for a girl her age and that she is absolutely no expected to worry about having a flat tummy (even though some of her friends do).

I explained that we all have different body types and as the tallest girl amongst her friends, it stands to reason that she is not petitely built.

I also pointed out that kids get their genes from their parents and that I am not petite either but rather curvy and that’s OK.

She (the little minx) pointed out to me that if I’m so perfect how come I always say that I look too big. She said if I’m too big, then she is too big.

She really got me there! While I was trying to teach her to have a positive body image, how often did I look at my reflection and comment negatively about my nose, my not-so-flat tummy and complain about my freckles?

My daughter thinks that I am beautiful.

If her beautiful mommy doesn’t believe that she is beautiful, how can she believe it of herself?


Having a positive body image will impact our daughters

Guiding our daughters to developing a positive body image begins with us. In learning to love ourselves, our daughters will learn to love themselves too.

We should always be mindful to speak well of ourselves. Even the most beautiful women have insecurities. We will never be completely satisfied with our appearances but there is joy in knowing that we are 100% unique.

Struggle with a low self-esteem? Consider this:

  • Identify what you think your best features are and draw attention to it. My best feature is my eyes and I like to make it stand out by wearing mascara.
  • Out of over 7 billion people in the world, no one is exactly like you! Wow!
  • Let go of the image you would like to be, or the image of who you were and appreciate who you are right now.

We will never be completely happy with our appearances but self-love in action will have a much more lasting effect on our daughters than our words.

Telling Alexandra that she is a pretty girl just as she is is only half the job done. I also need to be showing her that I love myself, even the parts I’d like to improve on, and have a healthy self-confidence. This will have a much more lasting effect than just words and it is the legacy she will remember.

Speak well of yourself, our daughters are learning from us…


Alexandra and Anthea O'Neill