The title of this post is the same as for a FitBriefing on healthy eating for children that we posted yesterday on Green Mountain’s website. The idea was spurred by the fact that Mother’s Day is coming up next month, and we wanted to use the opportunity to start people thinking about the impact they as parents have on their children in terms of eating, body image and self esteem. The article lists ways we can help our children learn attitudes and behaviors that will help them avoid eating and weight struggles as adults.
My admittedly unscientific survey of my daughter’s friends suggests that girls today are as bad if not worse in their body worry than my generation. I listen to the beautiful young girls who are my 18-year-old daughter’s friends, and often feel discouraged as I hear them spout the same diet nonsense that I heard (and unfortunately still hear) come out of the mouths of my friends (and many of the baby boomer women of which we are a small subgroup). No small wonder, as those girls’ mothers are where they learn much of it. They see their moms counting calories, restricting foods they call bad, frowning at their bodies in the mirror, all the while despairing over their imperfections.
I will admit, though, that I do hear some wise words emerge from my daughter’s friends, too. It’s usually the daughters of self-sufficient women who don’t seem to spend much time worrying about the size and shape of their bodies. They’re involved in much headier stuff.
Of course, children hear a lot of diet and weight nonsense from other sources than their parents. But the fact is that parents are primary role models for their children, whether the parents – or the children — like it or not. It’s time to stop disparaging our bodies and start treating them well, if for nothing else than our children’s sake. We’ll benefit immeasurably from it, too.