Thursday, November 4, 2010

Inspire a Girl, Change Her World

(NAPSI)-When girls feel bad about their looks, 70 percent disconnect from life—avoiding normal daily activities like attending school or even giving their opinion—which can put their dreams on hold and jeopardize their potential as future leaders, decision makers and role models.*

Everyone has the opportunity to make a difference in a young girl’s self-esteem. That is why Dove launched the Dove Movement for Self-Esteem, inviting all women to create a world where beauty is a source of confidence, not anxiety. The nationwide effort encourages women to take simple actions that help build self-esteem and inspire all women and girls to reach their full potential by caring for themselves and each other.

Dr. Ann Kearney-Cooke, psychologist and self-esteem expert, offers simple tips for parents and mentors to help girls develop a positive relationship with beauty.

1. Embrace Your Real Beauty: Challenge your inner critic and engage in healthy behaviors so that she can see that by taking care of herself, she can look and feel her best. Girls often model the behaviors of important women in their lives, so treat yourself well! Eat healthy, be active and see your doctor regularly for checkups so you can be a model of physical health for your daughter or a girl in your life. This will help her realize that feeling good about her body is not about being a certain weight or shape but about taking care of herself.

2. Share Inspiring Messages: Ban negative talk about your own body or her body. Instead, let her know that you love and value her because of who she is, not how she looks. Compliment her on character traits that reflect positive self-esteem, such as how she looks people in the eye as she shakes their hand, or on how you love listening to the ideas she shares about current events. She needs to know that you are proud of the person she is becoming.

3. Help Her See Her Full Potential: Girls need to know who they are, what they value and what they want out of life to experience the self-esteem that comes from taking charge of their own lives. Guide her to set goals and help her develop the skills necessary to turn a vision into a reality. Encourage her to focus on working hard and doing her personal best, rather than on being the best at everything she tries.

4. Build Positive Relationships: Teaching respect and empathy is important to help her create meaningful and positive relationships with her peers. Encourage development of healthy relationships by exhibiting mutual respect and empathy in your own relationships. To help her develop empathy, encourage her to view events from another person’s perspective. For example, you might ask: “How do you think your friend was feeling when she wasn’t invited to the sleepover?”

5. Stop the Scary Sit-Down: When parents or mentors need to discuss serious issues, they may believe that the best way to do this is to tell her that they “need to talk.” Rather than saving serious conversations for a single important session, build a stronger relationship with your daughter or a girl in your life by creating a consistent, predictable time when you are receptive and available to listen-for example, riding in the car, taking a walk or watching movies together. A strong, consistent connection will increase the likelihood that she will feel comfortable seeking your help and support when times are tough.

Visit to join the Dove Movement for Self-Esteem and download free self-esteem building tools for girls, moms and mentors.

*Dove, 2006

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