Social media has become a staple in our lives – whether you are young or old. While there are many benefits to this level of connectivity, it has also created more issues than we could have ever imagined. Take Instagram, for example. Today’s youth are faced with images of stereotypical beautiful and alluring women with slender waists, long legs, and the ‘perfect’ figure. So how do young girls compete? The answer is that, as parents and role models, we must learn how to instill confidence and empower these young women to love and value themselves. Raising a confident girl in this Instagram culture isn’t easy and will undoubtedly come with hurdles, but it can be done.
You may be asking yourself, “how can I encourage my daughter to be confident in who she is when she is confronted on a daily basis with an unrealistic standard of beauty and perfection?” While we’ve come a long way since the gender-prescribing attitude of the 1950s, there is still work to be done. Movements such as #MeToo and #TimesUp have helped change the way we view women – and ourselves – as we work hard to create a more inclusive, positive culture of acceptance and love. It is only natural for your daughter to want to be attractive and popular, but not when this comes at a price. Instagram – and all other forms of social media, for that matter, provide us with unhealthy, superficial views of these ‘star’ lives. No matter what we say and do, emphasis on appearance takes a particular toll on young women who are in the midst of finding their identity and growing into themselves. It is no doubt that kids are impressionable, and thanks to Instagram, they are faced with overt and veiled messages every single day.
In today’s culture, one that is so focused on a woman’s sex appeal, how exactly do we encourage girls to be confident, self-assured, and comfortable in their own skin? For starters, we must change the message. Who you are is far more important than what you look like. However, this can be difficult for young girls to comprehend. Here are a few other tips to help you promote confidence and raise a beautiful woman – inside and out:
- Pay attention to how you talk about women – Mothers, don’t criticize your own looks in front of your daughters. They will pick up on this (even if you don’t realize it) and it will establish a negative thought pattern right from the start.
- Support other women instead of tearing them down – This should go without saying, but we must get away from a culture of comparison, competition, and looking down on one another.
- Teach girls that their bodies are extraordinary – All of our bodies are completely different, so comparing what we look like to the Instagram stars we follow will get us nowhere. Our bodies are extraordinary vessels that allow us to do everything we love and we should never compare them to the next person’s.
- Be real – Social media has 100% changed the way in which we interact with one another and even feel about ourselves. Encourage young girls to look beyond this and realize there is much more to life than that ‘perfect’ image they see on Instagram.
Instagram isn’t going anywhere – and if it does, another social media platform will undoubtedly take its place. With this in mind, it is important to find ways to talk to your daughters about what it means to be a woman in this culture of comparison and constant sharing. It can be easy to fall into the trap and think negatively about yourself based on a story or image you see on Instagram, but working with young girls to help them love, understand, and accept themselves without this added influence is a must. Here at Lifeworks, our Carrollton teen therapists are here to answer any questions you may have and are happy to meet with you and your daughter. We encourage you to give us a call today if you are unsure how to encourage confidence and self-love and appreciation in your daughter.