At Valentine’s Day, we talk a lot about loving other people. But what about loving ourselves?
As Marci Warhaft-Nadler, body image expert and the author of The Body Image Survival Guide for Parents: Helping Toddlers, Tweens and Teens Thrive, points out: “Moms need to love themselves so their kids will know it’s okay to do the same.” It’s such an important message to remember.
“Kids as young as 5 and 6 years old are already feeling like being themselves is just not good enough,” Warhaft-Nadler explains. “This is leading them down some pretty dangerous paths. Instead of waiting until we see a problem starting, we need to act now. I’m teaching parents how to empower their kids to love who they are and believe in everything can they be, instead of feeling like they don’t measure up to who they think society expects them to be.”
Warhaft-Nadler understands that feeling firsthand. “I lost 20 years of my life to body image and eating disorder issues,” she says, “and now, I’m determined to help kids and their parents avoid the trauma I couldn’t. I know what it’s like to battle with body image. I know what it’s like to watch my mother see me in pain and feel completely powerless about how to help me. I know that this is an issue that is confusing and complicated and incredibly hard to understand. But armed with the right tools and information, parents are not powerless.”
The Body Image Survival Guide for Parents is a book that will help parents succeed in that goal. It’s full of concrete, practical advice for parents, and it features many fun ways to encourage healthy body image in kids while strengthening parents’ own body images at the same time: games, projects, resources and cheat sheets for when your kids ask difficult questions and you need strong answers. “The negative messages our kids hear from the media and society are loud,” Warhaft-Nadler explains, “so the positive messages we give them as their parents need to be even louder.”
This week, Warhaft-Nadler is giving away copies of her book to four readers of my blog. Just click here to enter.
Also, don’t miss the Twitter party I’m hosting on behalf of the Brave Girls Alliance tonight (Feb 13, 2014), in which Marci will answer your questions about body image and parenting.
Rebecca Hains is a media studies professor at Salem State University. Follow her on Facebook and Twitter. You may also follow Rebecca’s blog by hitting the “follow blog” button at the top left of your screen at rebeccahains.wordpress.com.