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Where Has My Little Girl Gone?

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450_image1.jpgThere really are lots of practical steps you can take today to  inoculate your daughter against the worst effects of the X-rated society.

Just by becoming a more aware parent today, you can help protect your daughter against sexualisation by making her more media savvy.

 In the two minutes you take to show your daughter how an image of an ultra-skinny model has been airbrushed, you've taught her not to try and live up to an image of perfection that doesn't exist.

By explaining -  in an age appropriate way  -  the pressures on your daughter to look sexy and reminding how she is  worth more than that -  you can shelter her against the drip, drip, drip erosion of her self-worth.

But if we don't train our girls to actively question these messages , the price is high for our children. 

A recent reports by Demos found that by the time they are teens ,900,000 girls in the UK suffer feelings of 'worthlessness' because they can't live up to expectations of how females are supposed to look

My daughters don't deserve to feel that way - and neither do yours. 

Where Has My Little Girl Gone? How to Protect Your Daughter From Growing Up Too Soon, by Tanith Carey, is published by Lion Hudson is available from Amazon.co.uk and all good book shops, price 7.99. 

TIP BOX

In  her new book, Where Has My Little Girl Gone?  parenting author Tanith Carey tackles every thing from Facebook to inappropriate 450_image2.jpgfashion. Here are some tips on how to help your daughter develop a healthy body image.

When it comes to diet, the most important things are what we don't say: Stop making food an ongoing topic of conversation in your household. Even if you think you are spreading healthy eating messages, you are making food a big issue. Instead without a fuss or fanfare, quietly make sure a good range of nutritious good food is available in your home. Keep in mind that there are no "bad" foods. What is bad is when we don't eat them in a balanced way. The best thing you can do for your daughter is to make eating normally no big deal, just a part of life.

Never mention the word 'diet': Overhearing endless conversation with your friends about the latest diet regime can make girls think it's a woman's lot to starve herself. If it's brought up by other adults in front of your daughter, quickly and quietly change the subject.

Get girls involved in cooking: Get girls back in touch with food and where it comes from and how it is made. Make meal-times a stress-free family occasion by focussing on companionship and conversation, not who's eating what.

Don't use food to feed your emotions: Don't express regret or guilt over food: How many of us have groaned after dinner: 'I wish I hadn't eaten that' or 'I deserve some a treat after the day I've had.' Don't talk about 'fat days'. Stop sending the message that food is something to feel guilty about.

Tanith Carey

Tanith Carey

Tanith Carey is an award-winning journalist and author, who writes for a variety of publications across the world, including The Guardian, The Independent, The Daily Telegraph, The Daily Mail, The New Statesman and The Huffington Post, among others. She has also written seven books.

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