Talking to Your Kids About Body Image

From the Show: Naturally Savvy
Summary: Our society is constantly judging people on appearance. But, what happens when it starts to infiltrate your kids' lives, even as young as the fourth grade?
Air Date: 4/29/15
Duration: 10
Host: Andrea Donsky, RHN and Lisa Davis, MPH
Guest Bio: Marci Warhaft Nadler
Marci-Warhaft-NadlerMarci Warhaft Nadler is a published author, founder of the "Fit vs. Fiction" workshops and a writer for the Huffington Post. Like too many young women these days, Marci struggled with body image issues for most of her life. Feeling like she could never live up to the unrealistic standards she had set for herself, she often resorted to unhealthy diet and exercise techniques that resulted in emotional and physical problems that she struggled with for years.

Her amazing recovery and ability to turn trauma into triumph has been her catalyst for reaching out to other young men and women who are facing the same obstacles. Fit vs. Fiction allows Marci to tell her story in an engaging and meaningful way. Her in-depth group seminars and one-on-one counselling allow her to connect with her audience by focusing on real-life examples, and dissecting them to reveal the ugly truth behind the pretty pictures.
Talking to Your Kids About Body Image
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As an adult, comparing your body to others can be almost a daily activity.

Our society is constantly judging people on appearance, especially weight.

But, what happens when it starts to infiltrate your kids' lives, even as young as, say, fourth grade?

What if your little girl came home from school one day and said, "Mommy, there was a girl at school who said my thighs were way bigger than hers"?

The typical gut reaction is for parents to get really upset and say, "You're beautiful" or "You're not fat, you're perfect."

But, according to body image expert and founder of Fit vs. Fiction, Marci Warhaft Nadler, you don't want to reinforce that the word "fat" is a bad thing and that what they weigh is such an important thing.

Don't make weight the problem, make the action the problem. Approach it with a few statements on how healthy your kid is, and then move on to something like, "what a silly thing for that kid to do... wasn't that boring?"

If you feel it's a much bigger issue, such as a bullying issue, you might want to take a bit more stringent action.

And, keep in mind, you don't know what goes on in that particular kid's life... is it an underlying issue at home? Is a coach putting extra pressure on to be thin?

The important thing, says Nadler, is to empower yourself and your kids with the right tools.

"If our kids hear us and see us treating ourselves properly and nicely with love and respect, then that's when they'll know that it's OK to treat themselves with love and respect."

Tune in as Nadler joins Andrea to discuss the ever-tricky issue of body image, as well as simple ways you can combat the constant comparisons in both your life and your child's life.
Sylvia Anderson

Originally from Minnesota, Sylvia moved to California for the sun, sand and warm temperatures. She graduated from the University of Minnesota with a degree in English and Communications, both of which she has put to good use in her work with RadioMD as Senior Editor.