Kids are sponges. They hear far more than they let on, and then are usually left to interpret what they hear without the benefit of an adult to explain the bigger picture or the complex realities that make that picture what it is. It can be dangerous, especially when we're talking about the formation of their self-worth. That's why I have rules for talking to my kid about your body, whether you're a friend or a relative or a coach or a teacher or, well, anyone at all.
I used to be one of those people who constantly spewed negative self-talk everywhere and anywhere. For most of my life, I've hated my body, and made sure pretty much everyone knew about it. When I had my first kid, though, I made a decision not to share those negative feelings around her. I decided it was important to show my kids that bodies are just bodies, not things to be ashamed of or want to change. I can't say that this choice is easy to uphold or that I don't fail from time-to-time, but it's one I'm committed to continuing. How I think about myself will impact how my children think about themselves, and I don't them thinking that their mother (who they love and admire and consider to be "perfect") hates her body.
I also don't want my kids to grow up wondering why their grandmother hates the way she looks and thinks she needs to lose weight. I don't want my kids to wonder why that family friend that they think looks so beautiful is talking about needing to cover up the circles under her eyes. I know my friends and family will still feel this way, but I want to do everything in my power to prevent my kids from following people down that road of self-hate. So, with that in mind, here are nine rules for talking to my kid about your body: