Are you unknowingly telling your child there's something wrong with her body? Follow these guidelines to help your child feel radiant about who she is -- inside and out.
1. Accept your own body weight and shape. If you stand in front of the mirror poking at what you perceive as imperfections, your child will follow suit.
2. Toss out your bathroom scales. There's no need to weigh yourself or your child.
3. Check that your child's clothing fits. Waistbands that pinch and shirts so tight that they inhibit arm movements tell your child he's the wrong size.
4. Celebrate the diversity of human shapes by plastering your fridge door with pictures of people of all shapes and sizes. Point out unrealistic media images. Question whether the hero and heroine must always be thin.
5. Discuss dieting. If your child hears that 95 per cent of diets fail, he's less likely to start one.
6. Educate your child on the genetic basis of weight.
7. Avoid food fights. Don't limit a child's portions or ban foods. Your job is to prepare and serve nutritious foods -- that's all.
8. Hug your child, shake her hand when she gets an A, massage her shoulders after a tense day. Your comfort with your child's body sends a strong message that her body is lovable.
9. Don't comment on a child's weight. Instead, comment on his skateboarding skills, his ability to make new friends, and his wacky sense of humour. Your child can't have both good self-esteem and a poor body image.
10. Don't allow others to comment in a hurtful way on your child's appearance. Stand up for your child, especially with other adults.
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