It’s a scene made fun of in rom-coms: a girl asks for a guy’s opinion on her outfit. After a couple of trips to the fitting room, she gets angry at him because he’s seemingly uninterested. Movies have turned it into a go-to scenario for gags. Behind the laughs, however, there’s the reality that a lot of women feel dissatisfied with what they see in the mirror, and men play a role in it.
Since fathers are the first and most important male figures for daughters, you need to learn how you can help her be as body-confident as she can be.
Acknowledge Social Media’s Impact
Social media usage is at a point wherein it’s considered more relevant than optional. Your daughter gets a daily attack on her self-esteem from Facebook and Instagram alone in one way or another. There’s no use denying this fact; a study published in Body Image confirms it.
If you could only remove all detractors to your daughter’s happiness with a snap of your finger, you would. Only it’s not a feasible option. What you can do instead is to acknowledge this experience that she undergoes every day and find ways to reinforce her confidence.
Go on a social media detox together for an entire weekend. Spend an afternoon hiking or start a passion project together. It doesn’t have to be grand. What’s important is for her to spend time away from social media and with someone who validates her worth.
Know When to Seek Professional Help
Some girls have a tougher time dealing with their body image compared to others. Just as you’ve acknowledged social media’s impact, you must accept that professional help is effective and, most of the time, necessary.
It’s easier for daughters to pursue this path if an influential figure like you is open to it. Help her search for the right clinic to get diagnosed. Join her on her journey to understanding possible diagnoses like anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa. Be involved in her binge-eating disorder recovery plan.
Having you by her side throughout her journey to better health decreases any feelings of embarrassment. It also empowers her to value herself more.
Develop the Right Attitude
Commenting on your daughter’s weight or appearance, even jokingly, can jolt her confidence. Some girls might banter and act like it means nothing to them, but it could simply be a way to cope with her insecurities. This is especially true if she has an eating disorder because she will tend to be more critical of her weight. If this is already the case, it’s best to be patient with her and her eating habits. The scarcity of the food on her plate or her stashes of chocolate inside the house can be frustrating. Remember, though, that there’s a better way to deal with your frustration than to insult her actions or to address her sternly.
She’s already in a sensitive state. Any anger or guilt-trip aimed at her can destroy her trust in you.
Look After Yourself
You might not get each of these steps right the first time around. Every father-daughter relationship is different, so it’s up to you to find the kind of interaction that will benefit her most. In the process of helping her build a healthy body image, don’t forget to look after yours too. After all, it’s your example, not your words, that will truly change her life for the better.