Having a daughter is an incredible blessing, but it comes with an incredible responsibility: trying to negotiate the rocky territory of her identity and self-worth. I think all moms imagine that they're going to raise their daughters to be strong and sure of themselves, but the fact of the matter is; there will be challenges along the way, which is why it's so important to be prepared with responses for when your daughter body shames herself.
It's an interesting thing to experience, witnessing your daughter body shame herself, especially when you haven't taught her to (and, honestly, have actively tried to teach her to love her body). I have always been extremely self-deprecating, but when I started hearing my step-daughter, then a pre-teen, criticizing her own body, I "woke up" and started to pay attention. I could hear how slanted her opinion of herself was, and how difficult it was to convince her that she was so much more than the negatively she associated with herself. I didn't have as much control over the messages she was absorbing, because she didn't live with us, but I'm hoping that my younger daughter, almost five now, will observe and absorb my constant message of body positivity so that, when the inevitably time comes, she can combat the cultural messages of self-hate and worthlessness.
Being there for our daughters, to counteract and talk through the negative messages society (and sometimes those we love) gives women and girls about the worth of their bodies, is the best thing we can do as parents. Being prepared with what to say is important, too. Here are nine responses for when your daughter body shames herself: