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She's fine as she is. She should

ignore the teasing.

Your daughter is the victim of teasing. How can you help her? You can start by listening to her and empathizing with what she's been through. “I'm glad that you talked to me about this. It's important to tell someone and also important to do something to stop the teasing because no one has the right to make fun of you or anyone else. If we do nothing, it will give the per- son who is making fun of you the impression that it's not serious and they can continue doing it.What do you want to do? Do you want to talk to them yourself? We can look at different ways to deal with this together. Would you like me to talk to your teacher or the school principal about it?”

When your daughter goes through a difficult situation such as being rejected by others, it is very important that she feels she is being listened to and comforted. The first step in reassuring your daughter is to listen to her story and not minimize the pain she has endured because of the teasing.As you discuss ways to react and intervene,you are giving her the opportunity to express her opinion and find solutions to this situation or any other difficult situation that may arise in the future.Your daughter needs to assert herself in diverse situations to develop her self-confidence. Encourage her to commu- nicate and take the initiative.Taking action and making decisions will put your daughter in charge of her life:

B

TEASING AND NAME-CALLING

she will not be a passive victim if she can express her feelings and assert herself.

At six or seven years of age, children begin to express negative comments about other people. Saying or writ- ing mean things about someone else is sometimes a way for children to exert power and to demonstrate sol- idarity with their group of friends. The child who is being teased about her appearance is hurting. She is counting on adults, especially her parents, to help her deal with this trauma.When your daughter talks to you about the problems she is confronting, she hopes she will be listened to, whatever the problem might be. She will trust you if you take the time to listen to her with respect. You will help develop her self-esteem if you allow her to express herself and help her to find solu- tions.

C

PUBERTY AND BODY CHANGE

She's approaching puberty. Ma

ybe her body is starting to change.

Your daughter's weight gain can be attributed to the physical changes associated with puberty. As she approaches adolescence, her body will begin to change. How can you help her deal with her concerns about these inevitable changes? You can respond as follows:“Are you concerned about your weight? During puberty, boys' and girls' bodies begin to change and those changes often involve gaining weight. You'll see changes in other girls your age. Eating healthy foods and exercising is the best way to maintain a healthy weight. Together we can set a realistic goal for you and with a change in your eating habits, a little more physi- cal activity and your usual determination, I'm sure you'll reach it.”

This response will give you an opportunity to talk to your daughter about the biological, emotional and psy- chological changes associated with puberty that affect both boys and girls. It's very possible that your daugh- ter will become even more preoccupied with her appearance during this period so take this opportunity to reassure her and encourage her to lead a more active lifestyle. Suggest activities you can do as a family as this will strengthen the bonds you already have. Place the emphasis on her character and abilities, so that her attention is not entirely centred on her body and physi- cal appearance.

The importance attached to appearance and the pres- sure to be thin can sometimes take on excessive pro- portions and can very often obscure reality. It is impor- tant for your daughter to be proud of her changing body. Having a positive body image is a significant part of self-esteem but not the only part. Praise your child for her accomplishments and encourage her talents and abilities. It will help her develop self-confidence and build true self-esteem. She needs your help to develop her personality and learn to assert herself.

YWCA

9

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