If I were cornered and asked, “In all of your reading, research, and interviews with parenting experts, what is the one tip that comes through again and again?” Without doubt, across all of the categories I write about, this would be my answer: “Show, don’t tell.” Modeling is the most powerful approach we have in our parenting toolbox, and how ironic that the word “modeling” could carry so many meanings in the context of this post.

SELF Magazine‘s February issue features a story regarding the influence your mother/family have on your body image and self esteem. More than half – 57% – of women who struggle with weight say they were pressured to diet by family members growing up, and 73% of women who consider themselves overweight say their mother will make comments if they’ve gained or lost pounds.

The survey uncovers how family pressures and parenting styles lead to self esteem issues regarding weight, confidence and overall body image.

The full text of the article is full of stats and commentary which is relevant not only to teenagers but to kids of all ages, and I particularly loved the magazine’s “Happy-Body Letter” which I’m including below as a MomTini bonus.

Glamour also did a survey about body image – full results here – and shared some disturbing results…

Young women recorded an average of 13 brutal thoughts about their bodies each day. Women of all sizes from across the country were asked to note every negative or anxious thought they had about their bodies over the course of one full day. Results showed that virtually all of the women surveyed – 97% – admitted to having at least one “I hate my body” moment. Some of the comments recorded were, “You’re bigger than her, fatty,” “Your stomach is fat. That is why you are alone,” and “Oh my God, look at her waist and legs! We’re the same height. She looks like a model. I look like a lumpy sock.”

Sad news…but makes me wonder about the power of words, especially in talking to our kids. I’ve heard people say that the word “diet” should be taboo, and that healthy choices is a better alternative. What can we do to ensure that our kids are growing up with a healthy, positive body image?

Note: Happy-Body Letter featured above is printed with permission of SELF Magazine – thanks!