Society definitely has a huge affect on girls and women, and it's hard to tell when the images really start affecting us.
According to The Dove Campaign, 75 percent of teenage girls say they felt depressed, guilty and shameful after spending just three minutes looking through a fashion magazine.
Author, musician and speaker Christa Black has toured with artists like The Jonas Brothers and written for former American Idol Jordin Sparks. But she says her latest project isn’t music, it’s a blog and book for girls to believe in themselves.
Black says society is obsessed with perfection, but that is only part of the problem. She says, “The obsession with outward appearance is usually the symptom of a much deeper problem, and that deeper problem is the beatings of a wounded heart.”
She adds, “When we focus our bodies, we're simply focusing on the symptom and not the problem. We focus on our outer shells to avoid rejection-usually from painful truths that reside like a monster inside.”
Black believes that in order for our daughters to be healthy, we must teach them internal beauty and health.
Although much of this influence comes from society, including television and magazines, Black says much of it comes from within our homes.
She says that parents set the dynamic in the home and kids listen and see everything we do. Something as simple as verbally putting your appearance down, or avoiding having photos taken of yourself. What are you teaching your daughters about beauty in front of the mirror each morning? She will learn the basics from you.
Obviously we can’t lock our kids up from the outside world, but we can still protect them and give them positive influences. You have to find ways to combat the bombardment of media that's coming at them.
Black has three tips for parents:
1. The Power of Words: Your kids are probably dealing with some sort of bullying, whether it be in person or online. Find 5 'Destiny Statements' over your child and begin speaking over them daily. Declare them over your child. Combat what they're hearing and seeing with words of life and truth. Get a pad of stickie notes and every, single day, put a word of affirmation on their mirror or in their lunchbox.
2. Giving Back: The fastest way to fight the meaningless obsession with appearance is to give back. Find a family at Christmas who can't afford presents and take your kids to give them presents on Christmas Eve. Start volunteering as a family with Habitat for Humanity or a soup kitchen. Kids are never too young to learn the power of giving back-and true beauty. If you're involved in a local church, visit a nursing home or sign up for a mission trip.
3. Talk, Talk, Talk: Talk to your kids. Talk to them about Barbie. Talk to them about Dora. Don't just forbid them to watch or play with certain toys--tell them why. Talk to them about the truth. Tell them how every girl's body is different. Fathers, tell your daughters you think they're beautiful. Mothers, don't ever say that your daughter looks fat or chubby-even if she does. Your words create in your home. What are you creating?
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