Wednesday, 21 November 2018

Body Image and Parenting


I'm not only a parent who happens to love travelling, exploring and writing in a campervan, I also work as a Family Support Worker for my local authority. A few weeks ago, as part of my role, I attended a conference run by our local Child and Adolescence Mental Health Service, which focused on eating disorders and by proxy body image. 

Although the information which I gained about eating disorders for my job, was very useful, I couldn't help but take away a new mindset for my parenting. I'm parenting a 9 year old girl! In today's society and current climate for a million different reasons, that's a scary place to be. But what I took from today, is that our little people are watching us ALL OF THE TIME! They're watching us when we eat the 3rd chocolate brownie and when we berate ourselves for eating the 3rd brownie. They're listening, even if we think they're not, when we moan about how tight our jeans have become or when we make fake excuses about going to the pre-booked yoga class. 

We can complain as much as we like about social media, TV programmes, popstars etc and the influence they have on our little people's minds, but ultimately, it's their mums and dads that have the greatest influence. 

One of the guest speakers at the conference was a lady who you may have heard of called Harnaam Kaur, she's a social activist and motivational speaker who often visits schools as well. Harnaam had a lifetime of bullying due to her weight and facial hair caused by polycystic ovary syndrome. In the end she worked out for herself that the only person who can stop the effects of the bullying, solve her depression and bring happiness was herself. Harnam chose to forgive the bullies and chose to love her body and accept it for the way it is. If you ever get to hear Harnam speak, then I would recommend you do, or maybe just look her up on youtube.

We only get one body and without it, where would we be? As parents, our bodies have already done the most tremendous feat, just by making, growing and raising another being. Let's give our bodies a break, stop the hating, shaming and guilt. Let's give other people's bodies a break, stop judging, comparing and bitching. The tag line of the 'Everybody' campaign, which ran the conference was 'My body is brilliant because……."- Answer it now! In your head or in your journal, but in the comments below would be amazing!  I may be a little late in sharing the campaign and posting these thoughts, but ultimately they still matter regardless and I hope we can all take the thought away to just be a little kinder to ourselves. 

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