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How can I counter the sexy messages my daughter gets from the media?

Michele Borba
Psychology

How do we counter “too fast, too much, too sexy, too soon” media images? Here are a few ideas:

  • “Up” your outrage! These products are sold because they are purchased. A collective parental “No!” would send a clear message. Write your concerns to distributors and product developers. (Those complaints do work; several companies have reconfigured their advertisements and even removed them from their websites.) “Outrage” petitions are also gaining signatures by the minute. Speak out and keep your wallets shut. Share “why” you’re concerned to your daughter.
  • Check your attitude. Kids who see and hear their parents (especially moms) worrying about their appearance usually adopt the belief that being young and thin is the standard to achieve. So watch your comments and tune into your own behavior.
  • Build self-esteem from the inside out. A positive and well-rounded sense of self-esteem and healthy body image are essential for our girls. Find ways to help your daughter gain competence in physical, social and academic endeavors. Praise her for her “inside qualities,” and not her appearance. Help her realize her innate strengths and wonderful personal qualities.
  • Watch her media diet. Control your remote, get subscriptions to healthy magazines and find her healthy outlooks that don’t require wearing sexy attire. And put down those celebrity magazines, at least when your daughter is in the room!
  • Check her friends. Tune in a bit closer to what your daughter’s friends are talking about. If the focus is all about the latest “diets” and “dress size” it may be time to steer your child toward others friends with healthier outlooks.
  • Find like-minded parents. Consider talking with parents of your teen’s friends and hear their views. Chances are they share your standards. Standing together will reduce those, “You’re the only parent who feels that way.”
  • Find positive, female role models. Tune into those so-called role models. Make sure their examples are ones you want your daughter to copy. Let’s offer our daughters female role models who feel comfortable in their own skin and don’t need to rely on Botox, breast implants, dieting, and designer labels to feel attractive. Expose your daughter to authentic, confident women, and then tell her why you admire them.

Our best hope is to help our daughters learn, and as early as possible, real happiness isn’t borrowed or copied, but lies within.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.