Have you ever heard yourself say something and thought, “Oh Lord, I sound just like my mother.” We chuckle when those moments happen and we usually don’t think a lot about them.
We should, because just as we absorbed so much of what we heard our parents say without giving it a second thought, our kids are absorbing what we say. As you’re getting ready for work or an evening out, and you’re checking yourself in the mirror, your daughter is paying attention. When you start to talk about yourself in terms of the flaws you perceive — that weight you don’t seem to be able to lose, those hips that are not shaped like you wish, those wrinkles you work so hard to cover up — your daughter is absorbing every word of it. And the day will come when your daughter will discover some flaw in her mirror.
Not long ago, someone produced a video series of mothers and daughters talking separately about their bodies. What they loved, what they hated, and what they wished they could change. And when they’d show the moms and daughters the videos of each other, they discovered they were saying the same things about themselves. The daughters identified the same flaws in their own bodies that their mothers had complained about. Many of the mothers didn’t even realize they had been saying those things out loud.
As parents, the words we speak in front of our children shape their adult lives. That’s also true when it comes to body image, health, and wellness. When we moan that it’s so hard to eat healthy, they come away thinking healthy eating is impossible. When we say we just can’t resist that extra scoop of ice cream, they believe they can’t do anything about their appetites. When we say that we should really exercise more, but don’t have the time, they’ll probably find it tough to schedule a daily workout.
Your words create legacies that will live in your children long after they’ve grown up and moved on to their adult lives. Wouldn’t you rather leave positive legacies that help them live long, healthy lives? Wouldn’t you rather have them see their beauty instead of thinking they fall short of who they should be?
Ready to make a change in the language you use when you look in the mirror? I’ll explain how you can do that at the next installment of our Summer Parenting Series on Day, July 10 at 7 p.m. I’ll help you learn how to love your body and how to make sure that love makes it to the next generation (and, we hope, the one after that). The workshop is free, but you’ll need to reserve your seat.
If you or your kids are struggling with your sense of self-image or your ability to live a healthy life, we can help you. Why not make an appointment and share your concerns? We’ll help you find the right path to health and healthy self-esteem.
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