Raising Body Positive Kids
If you haven't met Sarah from The Papaya Bird, prepare to be inspired. Sarah is a movement, she radiates positivity, self-love, and real talk. She is the voice of beauty we need to tell ourselves, but she’s not done growing and learning and she shares that too.
As a mother to three, we were able to catch up with her and get some advice on raising body positive children.
Kellie: You have a great following because you radiate positivity and self-love, do you see changes in society? Do you feel like we might be working towards changing the script for our kids?
Sarah: Absolutely there are changes! When the door opens, more walk through it! It's also created a demand we've never seen before, and brands are listening and adjusting their marketing to suit it. 3 years ago we didn't have size diversity in mannequins or online shopping models, nor did we have the demand to remove segregation of sizing in shopping, and it's beginning to come more together as a collective experience. Slowly but surely. I think our children will grow up seeing it as a norm.
Kellie: In a post, you wrote called “What Body Positivity Means to Me”, you said “I believe that shame is introduced, and we work to earn back trust, love, and positivity towards our bodies.” These beautiful words struck me to my core. Do you feel that body shaming started early in your life or later?
Sarah: I think shame happens when we become more self-aware without the combination of the awareness of others and community in changes. Many of us have it start around puberty when our bodies noticeably change rapidly, and we become more focused on being "attractive". When we only SEE what is viewed as "attractive" as ONE mold of body, it's going to create a gap where we feel something is wrong or different with our own. Creating an unrealistic expectation bred from an unrealistic message.
Kellie: Do you think knowing more about your body and its functions and abilities at a younger age might have helped your body confidence? Sarah: I think I did know a lot, my parents were incredibly great at giving us resources and teaching us, but without the ability to TALK about it with each other, openly and honestly (and without ongoing resources like social media today celebrating differences), it was a struggle to feel safe in my own body, let alone be proud of it. Kellie: Children today are exposed to an incredible amount of media, and it’s become so hard to not compare yourself to others so much so that Instagram took down their likes. As a mother what tips do you give your children to help them avoid body comparison?
Sarah: My children are actually SO body diverse from one another, that I think it's created a lesson right here in and of itself. We down own scales, we don't have negative language around food or size, and we celebrate things like movement, creativity, and more. My son also has a learning disability so we try and celebrate things even beyond "book smarts" so that we can celebrate our individual intelligence and how diverse THAT can be too! A huge one for me is self-talk, and making sure the narratives they hear from home are good ones, and that in the messages they take in online, they have an opportunity to cancel out those