Unintentionally Influencing Our Daughters

Our behavior isn’t the only thing our darling daughters imitate. Believe it or not, their self-perception is strongly influenced by our self-perception. We don’t notice them watching us criticize ourselves in the mirror, but that’s how they learn how to look at themselves. The way your daughter feels about herself, and her beauty, starts with the way you feel about yourself, and your own beauty. Do you see how important it is for you to let your awesomeness shine through?

If you don’t believe me, check out the Dove Legacy Project, which asked mothers how they felt about their bodies. The women listed the things they hated, the characteristics they liked, and why.

In a separate room, their young daughters were given the same questionnaire about their own little bodies. The nearly identical answers produced by their daughters shocked the mothers. For example, if a mother confessed that she didn’t like her arms, separately her little girl also wrote that she didn’t like her own arms. If the adult shared that she liked her smile, the child appreciated her own smile, too.

When they were brought together, their mums chose a positive characteristic that had been written on both of their lists, and asked their child, “Why do you like this?” The mothers were stunned to hear their daughters’ answers paraphrased their own previously shared reasons.

You can watch the entire 3-minute video by looking up Dove Legacy | A Girl’s Beauty Confidence Starts With You, or you can access it via this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pqknd1ohhT4 .

This video made me pause and reflect on whether it applied to my daughter and me.

It did. >sigh<

The glaring illustration was how she had transferred my perpetual dissatisfaction with my belly to her lovely slim waistline. I remember being floored by her criticism of her perfect midsection. At the time it didn’t make any sense to me, but it does now.

Interestingly enough, telling her about my inadvertent influence on her self-perception wasn’t enough to change it. However, when I subtly started to admire myself in front of her, and became more forgiving and appreciative of my body, so did she.

How humbling to be responsible for our daughters, who hang on our every word and deed. Since you want the best for your developing darling, why not positively reframe your self-perception? It’s better for you, and, it’s better for her.

If you feel brave, run their little experiment with you and your daughter, and let us know if you get similar results.

You can find more like this topic in my book, How To Keep Your Daughter From Slamming the Door (shameless plug). https://DeborahAnnDavis.com/books/how-to-keep-your-daughter-from-slamming-the-door/