How I Will Raise My Daughter to Have Positive Body Image

Little girl in her mother's high hells shoes

The following is a personal piece. This is an outlet for parents and individuals who would like to share their stories, in the hope that others will connect and find support. If you have a story you’d like to share, please message us on Facebook or email us at

Real talk: I’ve been known to shame my own body. I’m not proud of it. I’ve actually written about this personal issue before, because it is something that has affected me all my life. No matter how many times my parents told me I was beautiful (seriously, on repeat, like a broken record), I never listened or wanted to hear it. Between societal pressure and my own insecurities, I’ve been hard on myself for over 15 years.

But that ends now.

The older I get, the more I wake the hell up and realize that I am beautiful – beautiful because I am unique; beautiful because I am a successful writer; beautiful because I have a body that functions the way it is supposed to; beautiful because I am a kind person. I have two legs that get me from point A to point B. I have a gorgeous brain, stuffed with knowledge and memories. I have two feet planted on solid ground, and a head that occasionally ends up in the clouds, but never fails me. I am finally coming to know that beauty is on the inside, and no matter the size, shape, or weight, I am beautiful.

Unfortunately, young, growing girls are not as understanding (I mean, I was one of them.)

If I have a daughter someday, I will do everything in my power to make sure she understands that a woman’s beauty is not measured on appearance. She will be hit in the face with magazines telling her to lose those last 10 lbs. She’ll face scrutiny from peers. She’ll soak in the media’s constant pressure to be thin and picture-perfect. I know she will. I think we all do, at some point in our lives.

But I’m ready to put on my armor and fight against mainstream culture. I’m determined to raise my daughter to love the skin she is in, from day one. And spoiler alert: this is not easy.

Here’s a little peak into my arsenal of tactics:

#1: There will be no negative talk about my own body in front of my daughter. This is very important, ladies. How the hell can you except your daughter to be confident when she watches her own mother struggle with body image? It’s just not going to work. It’s bad for you, and it’s bad for your daughter.

Yes, that means banning “I feel so fat today” from my vocabulary. You should, too.

#2: Magazines won’t be lying around this home. It was a beautiful day when I stopped reading Cosmopolitan magazine. My mother was a hairdresser, so I grew up chilling in the waiting room while she cut hair. I’d scour the magazines and want to be just like the models. You know, the airbrushed models who look nothing like that in real life.

Okay, so I know my daughter will read plenty of magazines in her life, but I just would like to know that she is fully aware of the power of Photoshop. It’s so important for her to know the reality of it.

#3: I’ll shower her in compliments. Yeah, I’m going to tell my daughter that she is drop dead gorgeous every chance I can get. I’m also going to tell her that she is absolutely hilarious when she gets silly. I’m going to praise her intelligence when she gets an A on her first paper. I’ll brag about her creativity when she brings home new art. I’ll make damn sure that she is praised for more than just her looks.

#4: Mother/daughter activities will be a thing. Walking in the park, yoga at home, a fun 5k once she gets older… bring it on! If she’s down to get active with her mama, I’ll be there with this life lesson: Your body is strong as hell. It’s absolutely amazing what it can do for you, so be kind to it.

#5: I won’t be afraid to be candid with my daughter. At a young age, she is going to see public ads and displays – from Abercrombie and Fitch or Slimfast. Rather than staying silent, I’ll speak with her about the messages that these ads bring. I want her to understand the motives behind these companies who are trying to sell their products and services.

#6: We’ll cook together. Food is incredible. I don’t want her to be afraid of food or feel guilty about eating food. Instead, I will bring her up to eat healthy. I’ve discussed my veganism in a previous post, and while my daughter will be able to decide if she wants to follow through with vegetarianism, I will make sure she is equipped with all knowledge to make that decision. She will understand where real food comes from, and what goes into all the processed crap.

Food is meant to fuel your body, and my daughter is going to have a good understanding of this – I’ll make sure of it.

#7: I will never ever put her down. It’s one thing to tell your kiddo to eat more vegetables, or to close her mouth while she is chewing. But telling her to stop eating like a pig? That’s unacceptable.

#8: We’ll embrace differences. If there is one thing my daughter needs to know, it is that everyone is different. Curly blonde hair is just as wonderful as straight black hair. A pale complexion is just as beautiful as dark skin. Instead of “rating” or pointing out differences, I’ll teach her to celebrate them.

I know that I can only do so much as a parent, but I truly hope that I can guide her the best way possible. And the day my daughter comes crying to me about her weight or appearance, I’ll be ready to keep fighting. Even with all I’ve listed above, I know that this day will more than likely come. And I’ll say:

Baby girl, I know the pressure is hard. I know what it’s like to want to starve yourself and go on fad diets and bawl your eyes out in the dressing room when you go up a size in jeans. I know how discouraging it can be when you start comparing yourself to friends. But you know what else I know? I know that there will come a day in your life when you realize you are worth so much more than a number on the scale. You’ll grow up, become successful, and meet someone who loves you for you. You’ll hit milestones – milestones that are far more superior than losing a few pounds. You’ll be intelligent, funny, classy, and entirely wonderful. And you’ll realize that.

All you can do today is be the best version of yourself – the truest version of yourself. I know in my heart that you will realize what a waste of energy it was to obsess over those last 5 lbs. I just truly hope that you realize all of this much sooner than I did. You’ll be a happier, brighter, and more confident woman once you do.

I know, trust me.

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