Help her see beauty is not a competition
Does your daughter compare her body shape and size to those of her friends, perhaps competing over who is "thinner"? Is she looking for compliments that just focus on her physical appearance? Does she seem down after watching the glamorous and sexy women in magazines or music videos? According to psychologists, looking at magazines for just 60 minutes can lower girls' self-esteem by over 80%.*
While it may be developmentally appropriate for your daughter to compare her looks to others, it can also be a slippery road for her self-confidence. The need to have solid social relationships and peer acceptance, coupled with the pressure to be accepted as culturally "beautiful", can create negative competition amongst girls.
With the plethora of imagery streaming to our daughters today, it’s almost impossible for her not to compare her own looks with these unrealistic beauty ideals, wreaking on a girl’s body image and falling short can create within her, amongst other things, depression, disordered eating and feelings of unworthiness.
But we can help her stop the endless comparison to others by focusing more closely on who she is as a person, and her relationships as a sister, mentor, or friend. Stop comparing your own looks. Talk to her about what she is comparing herself to and the damaging affect this has and help her identify and value specific instances of her uniqueness.
- To read more about how you can help build your children's self-esteem, visit the Dove Self-Esteem website
- Go back to the Dove Self-Esteem Project hub on Mumsnet
- Play our FLAW-LESS game with your daughter and explore beauty definitions across the globe and help her to see there is no one correct, true way to be beautiful
*Dr. Raj Persuad, Consultant Psychiatrist at London’s Maudsley Hospital
Last updated: about 3 years ago