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  1. #1
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    Default Young Girls and Body Image

    I have two young nieces, ones is 7 and the other 13. Recently I've noticed the 7 year old has become obsessed with the weight of the 13 year old. Every single time I've seen them together for the past few months, I'll say hello to ith of them and then the 7 year old will say about the 13 year old "look at her, she's soooo thin!". She says it in a way that seems like she is envious or in awe and it's disturbing because she is by no means overweight. At first I didn't notice ut the I started to see a trend and it's happened at least the last 10 times I've seen them.

    It really worries because to me it indicates that the 7 year old is being influenced to equate thinness with with happiness and could lead to serious self esteem issues down the track, and I worry about the 13 year old because she is extremely underweight and I feel like her thinned is being validated by the younger one so as to only encourage her

    Neither of their Mothers seem to have noticed or say anything when it occurs, perhaps I am overly sensitive because I have struggled with body image and eating disorders for many years.

    Anyway it happened again this weekend and I couldn't hold my tongue,I told the 7 year old to stop commenting on the 13 year olds weight and figure, she replied but it's a compliment and I said there are better ways to compliment someone. If you think she looks pretty, tell her. If you like her outit or something else compliment it but whether someone is fat or thin, tall or short, you should never comment on their weight or body shape. I'm not sure if she understood or if it will make any difference but I was wondering, how would you handle that situation? Would you even worry about it or just ignore it?

    I guess I'm curious because I just found out I'm having a little girl and so worried about the influence of media etc on body image.

  2. #2
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    I would say her parents are having an influence on how she feels about her sister's weight. In my experience media and all that only has as much influence as the parents allow.

    I think your little pep talk was good and perhaps if it happens again, maybe say it again. Just make sure that it's always in a matter of fact way rather than "you're in trouble" kind of way. And perhaps show example? Maybe everytime you see the girls comment on their talent or the way they have their hair today or gee that's a nice top you've got on or something.

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  4. #3
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    Default Young Girls and Body Image

    I Think you did the right thing. Dd was getting very upset when people were telling her she was skinny or small, she's also 7, so much so that it was starting to worry me a little. Then her dr told her, without me saying what had been going on, that people probably say she is too thin but she is perfect for her. No more worrying from her since then. Maybe say something similar?


 

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