Actress Kate Winslet is a body-positive advocate. In Us Weekly’s Kate Winslet: No Women in My Life Were Positive About Body Image, It Was "Very Damaging," readers learn that she felt she never received positive messages as a child.
When I grew up, I never heard positive reinforcement about body image from any female in my life…I only heard negatives. That’s very damaging, because then you’re programmed as a young woman to immediately scrutinize yourself and how you look.
Winslet is being careful to only pass on positive body image messages to her children, which is what I try to do.
Here are a few tips on how to speak to your kids about body image from the very start:
1. Don’t be afraid to let your kids see your body naked. If the media keeps showing highly-polished versions of humans for the public’s consumption, we need to make sure kids see what un-photoshopped bodies look like, too, so they grow up with healthy expectations of what different bodies look like.
2. Don’t focus on what your kids look like. Especially with my daughter, I was hyper-vigilant that other people and I didn’t focus on her looks when we complimented her. I still do the same thing, for my boys also. I focus most often on my kids’ personal achievements and positive attributes like intelligence, being a kind person and doing good in the world.
3. Don’t ignore body image issues as they arise. I’m always looking for teachable moments: when my daughter was young and commented on her Wonder Woman figurine’s overly-ample-sized bosom, I talked about how not all women look like that. We talked about how it made her feel and that we need to be aware that what is presented to us as a body “ideal” is not always realistic or attainable.
Always trust your gut when speaking to your kids and try to be as honest as possible while encouraging positive body imagery for your kids.