They say beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but what if your young daughter is the beholder and she’s being manipulated by clever, yet misleading, advertisements to form her perception? Until recently, almost all popular fashion and beauty billboards have painted long, lean and skinny women who are accessorized by expensive clothes and handbags as the beauty norm. But thanks to the beauty industry’s evolving agenda and big brands backing the efforts (the real life portrayals of young women in the Dove Campaign For Real Beauty is one example) today’s modern girl is beginning to feel more confident embracing her version of beauty and style. Young minds will likely be tempted by how media outlets present beauty, but below are a few tips to help your daughter feel happy in her own skin when she’s struggling most.
1. Experiencing big body changes
Puberty is a whole mess of changes and hormones. While we can hopefully chuckle at those days, for your daughter, the experience is happening now and is a very real weight on her self-esteem. If your daughter is feeling conscientious about the changes she’s going through—maybe all of her friends are taller and developing faster or maybe she’s breaking out and can’t wear makeup yet. This is a great time to help her bust through the one-size-fits-all approach to beauty. You can’t tell her enough how bright her eyes sparkle or how amazing her hair is; research shows that positive encouragement from parents positively influences children’s self-perceptions.
2. Glasses are in, but contacts boost self-esteem in teens
Most teenagers who experience eyesight issues are psyched that glasses are in style, and could spend hours online finding their favorite styles. Some kids still feel self-conscious wearing eyeglasses though, and might find a big self-esteem boost when allowed to choose contact lenses, according to optometrist researcher, Jeffrey J. Walline, from Ohio State University’s College of Optometry. By the end of his study, he found that kids wearing contact lenses were more confident about their appearance and athletic performances. Your optometrist will help your daughter find the perfect pair of contact lenses for her needs. If you’re a busy parent, order her contact lens prescription online. Internet retailers like Vision Direct even have auto-reorder features that make keeping fresh contacts on hand effortless. When they arrive, help her practice putting them in so she feels comfortable and confident.
3. Weighing in
In the past, everyone wanted to diet and lose weight to become the ultra-skinny envy of their friends and family. Unfortunately, body image experts say the “thin ideal” is still in. With today’s pressure, the new beautiful is to still be thin, but also super fit. Let’s face it, no matter how much some of us work out, the bone structure we were born with is not going to budge and that tiny waist/curvy butt combo is fought down by genetics. If your daughter struggles with her perception of weight—whether she thinks she is over or underweight—assure her that regular exercise makes her beautiful because she’s engaging in a life-long healthy activity. Encourage her to find fitness she actually enjoys doing though.
Show her how powerful the media is by showing her pictures of what beautiful was in the ’60s and ’70s. She’ll be surprised when you show her people once thought a woman holding a cigarette was “beautiful” because that’s what popular media convinced them to believe. Unhealthy habits can often be glamorized, and just helping create awareness will help your daughter begin raising her own questions about what beauty really is to her.