How to talk to your children about their bodies, step one: don’t talk to your children about their bodies, except to teach them how it works.
Don’t say anything if they’ve lost weight. Don’t say anything if they’ve gained weight.
If you think the body of your child looks amazing, don’t say that. Here are some things you can say instead:
“You look so healthy!” is a great one.
Or how about, “you’re looking so strong.”
“I can see how happy you are – you’re glowing.”
Better yet, compliment them on something that has nothing to do with their body.
Don’t comment on other peoples bodies either. Nope. Not a single comment, not a nice one or a mean one.
Teach them about kindness towards others, but also kindness towards yourself.
Don’t you dare talk about how much you hate your body in front of your children, or talk about your new diet. In fact, don’t go on a diet in front of your children. Buy healthy food. Cook healthy meals. But don’t say “I’m not eating carbs right now.” Your children should never think that carbs are evil, because shame over what you eat only leads to shame about yourself.
Encourage your child to run because it makes them feel less stressed. Encourage your child to climb mountains because there is nowhere better to explore your spirituality than the peak of the universe. Encourage your child to surf, or rock climb, or mountain bike because it scares them and that’s a good thing sometimes.
Help your child love soccer or rowing or hockey because sports make her a better leader and a more confident individual. Explain that no matter how old you get, you’ll never stop needing good teamwork. Never make them play a sport they aren’t absolutely in love with.
Teach your children how to cook kale.
Teach your children how to bake chocolate cake made with six sticks of butter.
Pass on your own mom’s recipe for Christmas morning coffee cake. Pass on your love of being outside.
Maybe you and your child both have thick thighs or wide ribcages. It’s easy to hate these non-size zero body parts. Don’t. Tell your child that with their legs they can run a marathon if they wants to, and their ribcage is nothing but a carrying case for strong lungs. They can scream and they can sing and they can lift up the world, if they wants.
Remind your children that the best thing they can do with her body is to use it to mobilize their beautiful soul.
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