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B- Body Image

The Concept :

Body Image essentially refers to the entire oceans of feelings that arise inside you when u think of or see your own body. Whether you feel loved, protected and worthy or disgusted, ashamed and swayed by an obsessive need to metamorphose would decide whether you carry a positive self-image or a negative one.

One’s personal experiences, assumptions, perceptions, cultural & societal ideologies, memories & moments of truth, all influence greatly one’s way of looking at himself/herself. Oh, and did I miss stating “Media & Glamour” all around us that impacts deeply our thoughts about “The ideal body”.

By the way, if you feel that body image is an issue that impacts women, think again. Kids struggle with body image issues right from an early age. A 3-year-old today is well versed with the marketers’ beauty paradigm with brands and attractive figures ruling the media world all around.

So this is how my conversation on “The Body image” with my kids unfolded – 

The Story:

So when I was explaining the concept of body image and how we should be respectful towards our own bodies, the younger chap quickly ran to the bookshelf to pick up his favorite Pop up book and was eager to narrate me the story of “The Ugly Duckling”. It is amazing how kids are so aware and can come up with connections and ideas from a completely different paradigm and amalgamate into the present discussion as it was always meant to be a part of.

By the way, this is a great sign of creativity in kids. And did you hear me say C- Creativity..? Stay Tuned..

The Ugly Duckling!

The Ugly Duckling in the story is teased, bullied and abused a lot for being ugly & having different looks in the group of ducks. He remained aloof and hurt from all the things that were said to him. But a day comes when he grew up and realized how beautiful he is when he landed up in his own group of swans who looked like him. To say the least, there is much that can be taught to kids with this tale but my primary 2 discussion points were

  1. Beauty is bigger than physical appearances. We have to see beyond the looks and value the person for his true inner beauty. Look for his positive qualities and value him for those.
  2. Keeping quiet when others are being harsh, rude and mean is the worst thing you could do for your self. We should always stand up for our own selves and rise above those mean comments.

My elder one related to this “Smart behavior” displayed by Princess Belle in Beauty & the Beast who rose above the outer beauty & saw the Beast’s inner beauty and fell in love with him. However, she also saw a striking contrast in the character of the prince in the same story, who was initially being mean and rude to the old woman because of her appearance.

The Beauty & The Beast

With this, I ended my discussion for the day and retired to a good nights sleep knowing that my kids have the right thoughts planted in their minds.

I also found a great article on body image in kids. Read it here.

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Sonia Chatterjee April 2, 2019 at 5:50 am

This is such an essential point. My son is lean and fair. Often I hear statements like oh, he would have made such a pretty girl or isn’t he too thin for a boy or even comparison between him and his cousin sis, who is a shade darker than him. Now that he understands some part of this statements, he has started reacting to words like fair, dark, fat, thin. I consciously try to make him understand body positivity though the society makes it difficult at times.

Reply April 2, 2019 at 10:45 am

Absolutely Sonia, and I feel the words and values that our parents talk about to us often do remain with us for life.So cheers to building a better generation of kids

Abhijit April 2, 2019 at 7:25 am

True, beauty is bigger than physical appearance, Beauty is in mind. Beauty is in confidence to carry oneself.

Reply April 2, 2019 at 10:44 am

True Sir…Absolutely!

Shubhra Rastogi April 2, 2019 at 7:44 am

Loved your post. body image is one such issue that is becoming very prevalent in children these days. And if someone said that children do not have body issue … then like you said that it starts as early as 3 is exactly true. I keep talking to my daughter about body image through stories from time to time.

Reply April 2, 2019 at 10:43 am

Thank u Shubhra…Glad that you are working on your daughter right from a very young age….

Rashi Roy April 2, 2019 at 12:02 pm

Very apt and very well written. Loved reading it.

Reply April 3, 2019 at 9:15 am

Thank you 🙂

Priyanka Nair April 2, 2019 at 12:57 pm

This is a very important aspect of upbringing a child. You have made a very beautiful attempt to spread some awareness on this topic. Loved reading it.

Reply April 3, 2019 at 9:15 am

Thanks Priyanka! Feeling happy that you liked it!

Neha Sharma April 3, 2019 at 6:46 pm

That’s a wonderful way to start the right conversations which touch the little minds. You are doing great with your kids.

Reply April 14, 2019 at 10:48 am

Thank you Neha and this is a wonderful compliment… Just trying to make sense of it all dear.

Noor Anand Chawla April 9, 2019 at 2:33 pm

Body image is a sensitive issue for growing kids and teenagers. This is such a unique way of explaining this topic to them! Great post again.. I’m taking inspiration for my parenting from your series 🙂

Reply April 14, 2019 at 10:49 am

Thank u, Noor! It feels good to know that I am making some impact with my baby steps…

Supriya June 23, 2019 at 6:40 am

My child gets judged every now and then. For being thin for having thin hair and for what not.

Reply June 23, 2019 at 7:14 am

Hi Supriya, as a mother I understand your pain…
As a fellow learner in Parenting, I can suggest, it is all the more reason to work intentionally on building strong self-esteem and self-worth of your child… and no better person than u to make your child believe that she is a gem…
As a fellow human, I would say, pl do your bit by not doing it, I mean judging any other kid and raising a kid who respects diversity and uniqueness.
Thank you for writing in…


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