“Look at her tiny bow legs, small as sugar cane!” an angry mother shouts at her child. But at what cost is this coming? Do you know that such bad language kills your child’s self-esteem and as such they will hate their bodies especially the particular body part you insult.
The child might never tell you how much they dislike their body but certain actions will show. For instance, wearing maxi dresses to cover the “bad” legs and oversize blouses to hide the big bust.
Avoid leaving a child to wish for plastic surgery or even to take tablets that will either increase or reduce that part of the body. As a parent, teach your child to appreciate who they are and what they have.
Rebecca Nahabwe, a designer, says , encouraging a child to love themselves is vital.
“If a child, for instance, a teenager has bigger breasts than her peers, I would tell her that we were created differently and she should appreciate the fact that those with smaller ones wish they had sizable ones.,” she says adding, “highlight the risks that come with surgery or wearing the artificial body parts.”
That way she will love her body.
Mary Nakuya, a waitress and caretaker of two children says, if a child came to her crying that her friends are making fun of her body, she would console them.
“Children love to feel protected. I would hug the child and tell them the playmates are just telling lies.” In addition to that, I would read to them a story book with pictures whose heroes have bigger body parts than the rest. This boosts their confidence,” she says.
According to Resty Kaddu Lwanga, a child psychologist, the best way to teach a child to love their bodies is through communication.
“Communication starts when the child is still in the womb. As a pregnant mother, caress your stomach and say all good things to your child.
Tell him or her that they are the most beautiful or handsome thing that have happened to you.”
“However, do not stop there. When you deliver, keep reassuring them of how lovely their bodies are. Growing up with this mind set will keep them confident of their bodies.”
Prayer and interaction
Lwanga further notes that a parent can teach the child to love their body through prayer.
“Go to church and pray with the family especially on the family cleansing day among the Catholics. Here, you will tell them to say a prayer thanking God for their body and you can do it with them every night.”
Directing children in the way of the gospel and telling them bible stories can be a good start for a parent to encourage a child to love their body.
On the other hand, Matovu Mustafa a surveyor and father of four, believes, when a child asks any question about their body, there should be an answer so that they know everything about their bodies and may be when they grow up, they will love their bodies more.
Kazibwe Mpalakata, a father of five aises parents to create a friendship with children.
“Make time for your children and talk to them about the dangers the world poses when they grow up and body changes is one of them.
“When you are friends with your child, you can even take them along for workout fun activities like running around the compound to shed off the extra weight encouraging them to eat more fruits than candy and cheese as you explain to them the benefits of your actions.”
Choices while shopping
Kate Nalumagga, a mother of three, however highlights that she goes shopping for her children when they can make choices.
“I have noticed that as children grow older, they are aware of the clothes that look good on them.”
“They select the ones that they like. While fitting on the clothes, and they ask for my opinion if it looks smart, I compliment them and that way, they will appreciate themselves and will always go for clothes that make her look attractive.”
Nalumagga aises, if it is a teenager, buy them perfumes or bras so that they love themselves more. This makes her love her body because he or she is always looking and feeling good.
Florence Nakamya, a mother of three, says, reminding children of how they are all created in the image of God will boost their love for their bodies.
Therefore, how a parent treats their child regarding their body plays a bigger part on self-esteem.
David Kavuma, a counsellor at Adonai Training and Counseling Services aises
• Parents should educate children about their bodies and functions of the body parts and instruct them on how to keep the body parts clean.
• Parents should act as role models to the children as this gives them a mandate to challenge their children if they are not doing the right things for instance failing to bathe.
• Have a mentor family. This family can have a child who should act as an example to your children because children are often influenced by their peers. However, if a parent is shy, they can ask friends, or even a counsellor to talk to the child.
What past experiences do children today miss?
“ It was fun back in the days when we used to go fetch water and firewood and instead resort to playing hide and seek with friends. And we could go back home late in the evening which was fun unlike today where children find everything at home including piped water. Rehmah Namutebi ,Businesswoman
“ We used to make gardens battlefields where we could gather in big numbers and play war games in bushes or plantations. But today’s child can’t do that with this improving technology, they rather use play stations for such games in their bedrooms or sitting rooms. John Bosco, photographer
“ We used to gather as a family and dine on a round mat. It taught us table manners and not to be greedy. No one could leave the dining area before everyone was done, and I think today’s children are missing out on that because everyone eats when they wish. Peace K. Barungi, Fashion designer
“ We used to make our own soccer balls out of dry banana fibres and polythene. We were more innovative , we always had something to keep us busy. But today, all has to be bought by the parents and if they can’t afford it, it means that children will throw tantrums. Umaru Oyango, engineer
SOURCE: Daily Monitor