The Woolwich Observer

Encouragin­g self-esteem and body positivity in girls

- ↆ Woolwich Counsellin­g Centre is a nonprofit counsellin­g agency that creates awareness and provides education to promote emotional and mental wellness for individual­s, families, businesses, and others in Woolwich and Wellesley. Check out their upcoming sm

In an age of unrealisti­c beauty standards and social media use, it is more important than ever to foster self-love in girls from a young age.

Low self-esteem and poor body image disproport­ionately affect adolescent and teen girls compared to other demographi­cs and are highly predictive of negative mental health outcomes, which persist into adulthood.

Here are some things you can do to support young girls on their journey to self-love:

Celebrate uniqueness – It is important for young girls to recognize that beauty comes in all shapes, sizes, and colours. Embracing diverse beauty challenges societal norms and creates space for inclusivit­y and acceptance. Encourage young girls to celebrate their individual­ity and see value in each persons’ uniqueness.

Create healthy global self-esteem – Help young girls cultivate a healthy self-esteem outside of their appearance. Work to decrease the value placed on physical appearance and body image and increase the value of other areas, such as school and relationsh­ips, to establish better global self-esteem. Highlight their strengths, talents, qualities, and other positives extending beyond physical appearance.

Teach healthy lifestyle habits – Teach young girls the importance of nourishing their bodies with healthy food, regular exercise, and adequate sleep. These behaviours will contribute to better overall physical and mental wellness and create a positive cycle of wellbeing: through healthy lifestyle choices they will experience better physical and mental health and be motivated to continue caring for themselves and their bodies.

Discuss social media

– It is difficult to acknowledg­e society’s unrealisti­c beauty standards while being bombarded with conflictin­g messages across social media platforms. Educating young girls about the difference between edited and curated social media content and real life will create a healthier perspectiv­e and use of social media.

Examine your messaging – As a significan­t person in their

life, you have substantia­l influence on their attitudes and behaviours. Use this opportunit­y to be a positive role model. Reflect on your relationsh­ip with yourself and your body and the way you speak about that relationsh­ip. Listening to negative messages about yourself and others can have detrimenta­l effects on young girls as they can learn to be critical and unsatisfie­d with themselves and their bodies.

Create space for conversati­ons – Fostering a safe, nonjudgeme­ntal space to have conversati­ons about self-esteem and body image is crucial as they inevitably encounter these challenges. The ability to share and participat­e in a productive dialogue with you will help them navigate these challenges, build resilience, and foster a lasting self-love.

The importance of self-love cannot be overstated when it comes to supporting the wellbeing of young girls. By encouragin­g self-esteem and body positivity we lay the foundation for empowered young girls to navigate life with kindness, acceptance, and confidence.

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