Raising a strong, body confident young woman can feel like an endless battle when our girls are faced with messaging and pressure from the media to conform to one standard of beauty, and this is a mission we at NaturallyCurly have been championing since our birth in 1998. Here are a few helpful tips to help your daughter love her body and appreciate what it can do!
Love yourself first
It is important to model body comfort, because your issues can unknowingly rub off on your daughter's self esteem. According to childmind "Girls get much of how they feel about these things from their mothers: If Mom is complaining every time she puts on a piece of clothing that she looks fat, or wondering out loud about which outfit looks sexier, that's what the daughter is going to absorb." The same goes for her hair! If you are constantly complaining about your hair, or don't have confidence to wear it out in its natural state, then she will likely absorb that discomfort.
Listen to her
Does she want to straighten her hair? Does she hate her curls? Ask her why. Listen to her concerns and don't immediately rule them out. Your words may feel condescending if she feels you have not first listened to and acknowledged her feelings as valid. Make a point to listen first, and then sympathize with her so she feels understood. Though she may be young now, eventually embracing her natural hair will be her choice, so let her input be heard so that she feels she has a say in the matter.
Give positive feedback
We want our daughters to love their natural beauty, while understanding that is not where their true value lies. Curls are unique and they are naturally beautiful, but they are also just one part of your daughter. Of course you can tell your daughter that her hair is beautiful, but give equal positive feedback for her talent and intelligence as well. Encourage your friends and family to do the same.
Involve her in her hair care at a young age
When we talk to mothers in our curly hair community, they stress the importance of involving young girls in their hair care routine from an early age. NaturallyCurly community member Krista tells her daughter Giselle to be soft and gentle when shampooing her curls, and lets her pick the clips and bows to wear to school, and Nicole lets her daughter Zoie care for her doll's hair while she cares for Zoie's hair. Find an act that your daughter can take ownership over so that she feels empowered in the process. Find products that make the hair care process fun instead of frustrating and painful, like Just for Me which has a ton of products that gets kids excited about doing their hair, and easily detangles.
Show her natural hair role models
Research shows that, "according to communications theories, repeated exposure to media content leads viewers to begin to accept media portrayals as representations of reality." It's not often enough that we get to watch a natural hair heroines take charge in movies or television. Our curly kiddos are used to longing for long, straight hair and prince charmings, but this is not the case with the latest movie from DreamWorks Animation, Home. The main character Tip is resourceful, spunky, and wears her curly hair with confidence. In the movie, she sets off on an adventure when she meets an alien named Oh. Seeing natural hair represented in the media in a positive way can improve a child's sense of belonging and healthy body image.
NaturallyCurly moms, weigh in! How do you help your daughter feel confident?
This article is sponsored by Just For Me.
To learn more about the DreamWorks Animation, Home and Just For Me, click here.