The weekend just gone, while we searched for autumn colours and crunchy leaves, we also found a fabulous playground as well. The kid played ofr a long time, hopping too and fro from one piece of eqoipment to the next. Swinging, hanging, balancing and jumping. What she likes to call ‘getting strong’.
Recently (while practicing the splits) she ernestly told me that she wanted to be a ‘skinny girl’. I think my jaw hit the ground and I looked so shocked she thought I was cross.
I wasnt. Not at all. But I was concerned and saddened that at 5 year old and not yet in school, the concept of body image was already a part of her life.
We talked about it. The use of terms like ‘thin’ and ‘skinny’. How in this family we prefer not to use them. Of what we want for ourselves and our bodies. The idea that we want to be strong and fit. Flexible and energetic.
I’m not sure if any of it sunk in. Or if I made a bigger deal out of it than was necessary. Do you tackle it head on, guns blazing. Or just accept its something they hear, repeat but dont really understand. Should I have just ignored it completely and changed the subject?
How do I raise my daughter to be strong, both physically and mentally? To be driven but not overly competitive. To take care of herself and her body, but not to be obsessed with self image? I want her to enjoy playing and climbing and using her scooter and bike in activities for themselves. Not toward an end goal.
In the end I think all I can do is to instil a sense of worth that is not tied to physical looks or capabilities. A unshakable sense of self esteem and confidence in themselves.