Here's One Major Lesson President Obama Can Teach Us About Teen Body Image

Obama daughters

Many children have idols, but ultimately, it's parents who hold the most influence. Of course, kids will be influenced outside of the home, but if moms and dads set the groundwork, it certainly eases the pressure. And in that respect, President Barack Obama is onto something!

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In a recent interview, while speaking on body image, Obama said of his daughters, "The fact that they've got a tall gorgeous mom, who has some curves, and that their father appreciates, I think is helpful."

He's absolutely right! As a father, Obama's words and actions have the ability to mold his children and how they think of themselves, in terms of beauty -- both internally and externally.

In that same interview, Obama admitted that he'd failed to realize how much young women struggle with their body image until having to raise two daughters of his own. But now, he's owning this parenting game by realizing that he and Michelle are their daughters' best hope for learning to take pride in everything they are -- from appearance to intellect and everything in between.

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I can recall being younger and thinking my thighs were too big. But, I also remember my mother constantly assuring me that I'd appreciate my curvy thighs as I got older -- that they were beautiful, and that I'd see them that way, too (and that in our culture, men appreciate womanly women!).

I've also seen mothers who put their baby girls in the mirror each day and have them proudly reiterate how beautiful they are. (Because whatever works. Honestly!)

I know from experience that if you begin to teach your children these things at home, it won't matter what their favorite celebrities are doing, because they'll be able to distinguish for themselves what's right (for them) and wrong.

And honestly, after not having my own father tell me these things often, I find it even more incredible and of the utmost importance that fathers teach their daughters these things. It leaves less room for men to come along and disrespect young women, when they've had a father acknowledge and teach them their worth.

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I say all of this to say that self-esteem, self-respect, self-love, any sense of self -- it begins at home. And there are a million ways give your child a sense of self, but using others as a "role model" to cop out isn't one.

And that's a fact that both President Barack Obama and our First Lady seem well aware of -- as they've proven most recently and, quite frankly, more often than not throughout their time in the White House.

 

 

Image via © Olivier Douliery/Pool/Corbis

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