The other day, I was picking out clothes for my oldest daughter to wear to school, and as I reached for a pair of tights she quickly said to me, “No Mommy, I can’t wear tights, my thighs are too big and they don’t look good on me.” ……… WTF????? My mind was blown! How is it that my beautiful, strong, healthy, smart, funny, and vibrant little girl could possibly feel this way? How can she not look in the mirror and see just how perfect she is? How on earth does an 8 year old have body issues?? She’s too young! She should not be worrying about such foolish things! She should be laughing and playing and enjoying life and her youth….she should not be worried about the size of her thighs. How did this happen? Something is wrong here!
My husband and I have made a very conscious effort to ensure that we raise our girls to be strong and confident. We try to teach them to be kind and loving and caring because true beauty lies on the inside. We want them to understand that their worth is determined by so much more than their physical appearance, and that being a good person is the most important thing. We do not talk about weight or diets, or even mention the word fat around them. We talk about making healthy choices – like exercising regularly and eating well; we also teach them about balance, and that it’s okay to indulge once in a while. We tell them that they’re beautiful, always, but also that we love how they are compassionate, determined, and talented in so many ways.
So why is it that my little girl (who happens to be tall and thin, by the way) could possibly think that her thighs are too big? Has she come to this conclusion on her own? Did someone at school say this to her? Is this the effect that our society has had on her? Or is this because of something that I’m doing wrong? I struggle with my weight. I always have (or so I thought). I have had body issues for as long as I can remember. But I don’t talk about it, especially not when she is around. So – is she picking up on my non-verbal cues? Has she noticed that I choose not to participate in certain things? Can she sense my disdain? Are my body issues rubbing off on my child just simply because she’s my daughter and she knows what I’m thinking without me having to say a thing? Fuck! Something has to change. I cannot say for sure where these thoughts are coming from. All I can do is lead by example, and show her that she is perfect, just the way she is, just the way she is meant to be.