How do I teach my sister to love her bod?
Being an older sis can be a lot of responsibility from teaching her about dating to setting a good example when it comes to loving your bod. And that's *especially* hard if you don't always love your own (we get it!) but you don't want that to rub off on her. So what do you do? First, stop beating yourself up for not being a positive role mode—the fact that you care enough to ask how to help tells us that you are already a great big sister! Our families do play a strong role in how we handle social pressure to look a certain way so here are a few tips to help guide your little sis to be at peace with her body.
Lead by example. Try to avoid negative self talk around your sister because even when you least expect it, she is listening, learning and imitating. If you complain that you think you are fat, your sister might start doing the same. Try to replace negative thinking with positive talk.
Build up her self esteem. Tell her that you value her for her mind, her athletic ability...anything but her beauty. Beauty starts on the inside and you need to show her that it's not just physical looks that make you a valuable person.
Teach her about media pressures. If you teach your sister that the images she sees in the media are often photoshopped and unrealistic, she will be critical of images that influence her body image. Teach her not to compare herself with others, especially those featured in the media.
Help her have a healthy relationship with food. Remind her that it's okay to eat healthy and also to indulge! Avoid diet talk and focus on being healthy mentally and physically.
Combat bullying. Talk to her about being a good friend, being nice to others and defending herself against bullying. Being body shamed or teased is another way girls learn about body image ideals. If there is a problem that you can't help her with, let her know that there are adults more equipped to give her the support she might need (a teacher, mom or counselor).
How do you set a good example for your younger sibs? Let us know in the comments!
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