If you have kids in your life, you’re probably already aware that body image challenges start early. Numerous studies have shown that even elementary school children – especially girls – believe they need to change something about their body, whether it’s their weight, their hair, their freckles, or something else. It can be heartbreaking to watch the children we care about struggling with these issues, and so many grown-ups want to know what they can do to help. As it turns out, there IS one thing that we, as adults, can do to create an environment that truly supports our kids’ development of a healthy, positive body image. It’s something we actually have a lot of control over, and best of all, when we start doing this, it will immediately make our own lives better, too. Tune in to this empowering new video from IPEtv as Marc David, Founder of the Institute for the Psychology of Eating, shares the number one most important thing we can do to set our kids up for success when it comes to learning to love and respect their body.
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Here is a transcript of this week’s video:
Greetings, friends. I’m Marc David, founder of the Institute for the Psychology of Eating. I want to talk to you about the best way to help your child with their weight and with their body image.
Now, let’s say this. We live in a time when so many people, young and old, are experiencing an epidemic of body hate and body dissatisfaction. You can read the statistics. Nine out of 10 women polled are hitting on their bodies. Girls three to six years old, 40% of them are already dieting. They’re hating on their body. They’re wanting to change their body parts.
This is crazy. This is the kind of challenge that cuts to our core.
Hating our body, judging it, and believing that it’s unlovable in some way is the royal road to misery and an unhappy life.
Think about it. When we’re born into this world, watch a baby. They’re not sitting there worried about how they’re looking or running around naked or if they’ve got little bits of body fat here and there. Babies, infants, they are in love with their physiology. It’s just all one. It’s pleasure. It’s play. As so many people are struggling in silence with self-defeating thoughts about their own physical form. We’ve got to change that.
So an unhappy and unresolved body image, you know this. It keeps us small in our sense of self. It limits our personal growth. It stops our best creativity. And it leaves us far short of the beautiful potential that we are born with. Body hate shuts down the soul. It ruins us. It’s a soul crusher.
Now, an unhappy body image these days often starts at a young age. So if you’re a parent or you have kids in your life and you really want to help your child, especially if you’re a parent, you want to give them the best chance for a loving relationship with their body, there’s one strategy that will help you to succeed in such a brilliant and beautiful way that I’m going to tell you is absolutely necessary.
Here’s a strategy to help your kid: heal your own relationship with your body.
That’s it. Work on you. Work on your relationship with your body. Get to a place, please, as fast as you can where you forgive your own imperfections and where you let go of your own self-criticism. Stop the fight. Just stop the war because your children, our children pick up on who we are. Children are brilliant observers. They’re not good interpreters, but they’re brilliant observers. They will observe mommy, daddy hating on their own body. They’ll feel it. They’ll absorb it through the airwaves.
And, in a way, this is the beauty of our young ones. They want to be like us. And they will be like us. So it’s best to look in the mirror and to start to do work on self. It’s going to save your kids so much heartache and unnecessary waste of life energy as they get older.
So let me say that again. The greatest gift you can give your kids is to do your own work and do it now and stop the nonsense in your own head. Here’s how you start: call a cease-fire on self-attack. And I mean that. Just wake up and say cease-fire. Consciously choose to begin to love yourself in small ways. It’s a practice. You’ve got to practice that every day.
Every day practice gratitude in some way, shape, or form, for the body that you’ve been given. I know you’ve got complaints about it and this and that and all that. But balance out all those crazy complaints with some gratitude. Find ways every day to affirm love for your body.
Honestly, it is as simple as that because when you do work on yourself, you save future generations from pain and suffering. And you uplift them in ways that they’ll never know. And when you do that, when you do your work on self so your kids don’t have to finish up that work, we create such a better planet and such a better environment for all of us to thrive in.
And that, my friends, is the magic of the world.