New Year’s Resolutions For Kids: Going Beyond Beauty & Appearance
I know that we’ve talked a lot about New Year’s resolutions already. But I just came across a fantastic post by blogger and high school senior Fiona Lowenstein over at Rachel Simmons’s blog.
In it, Fiona suggests teen girls try out these 10 meaningful resolutions, instead of the usual appearance-based goals we typically see around this time.
In fact, if you’re a parent, why not talk to your kids about setting goals? You might set authentic resolutions as a family. And you might start a conversation with your child about what they’ve been reading or seeing about resolutions.
With the surge in weight-loss and diet commercials, ads and articles, this time of year is annoying at best and potentially harmful at worst. Kids soak up what they see in our shallow society and learn that beauty and thin are in — usually above all else.
But this time also presents a perfect opportunity for talking to your kids about our warped culture and body image and eating issues.
That’s why I love Fiona’s post on revising resolutions and creating goals that honor a girl’s mind and teach her how to help her community and herself — and her suggestions have nothing to do with dieting or losing weight.
For instance, Fiona’s first resolution centers on raising our voices. As consumers, we speak with our wallets. Instead of trying to change ourselves to fit a certain standard, why not work to change the companies instead?
Fiona mentions American Apparel, which I absolutely detest. Consider writing a letter of complaint to a company like American Apparel with your child. Show your child that she doesn’t have to change herself for anyone, and she can be an important voice in effecting change for her community and herself.
According to Fiona:
Instead of boycotting brownies, why not try boycotting questionable companies. My favorite “ooh their clothes are pretty but their policies are creepy” company is probably American Apparel. Their founder and CEO has been a part of so many scandals I’ve stopped counting. Most recently, I believe it came out that he had a sex slave? So perhaps, this is the year to finally start shopping elsewhere for that classic mesh leotard.
Fiona’s second resolution focuses on another important point: moving beyond appearance to becoming informed. This is another powerful lesson for your child. Instead of doing something as detrimental and all-consuming as dieting, you’re teaching her to use her brain and think critically and seriously about her world. And realize that, again, she can do something about it.
This teaches girls that they’re more than their bodies. Their brains can make a difference. Fiona writes:
Instead of counting calories, start counting votes. Whether or not you’re 18 or older, now’s the time to start catching up on the issues and the candidates. With the Republican race for a Presidential candidate and the New Hampshire primary looming on the horizon, why not learn a little bit more about the candidates. For example, did you know Newt Gingrich wants to put reflective mirrors in space facing the earth, in the hope that we can reduce our electricity bills that way? Or that Ron Paul doesn’t believe in paper money?
Women’s magazines, particularly Cosmo, make it seem like our worlds should revolve around boys and men. And impressionable girls get this message loud and clear. (Heck, we get it as grown women.) But Fiona suggests girls shift their focus. She explains:
Instead of resolving to gab less with new guys you meet (this is an actual Cosmo resolution suggestion), watch other people gab by watching some youtube Ted talks. Ted is a great organization that promotes short, entertaining speeches of “ideas worth sharing.” Although most Ted speakers are adults, I did a Tedx talk last year, and there are a lot of teen-focused Ted events.
In addition to these resolutions, consider chatting with your child about their dreams, and together come up with ways to make these dreams a reality.
This along with Fiona’s suggestions give girls the skills they need to navigate today’s culture, develop a sturdy sense of self and feel empowered.
Do you set resolutions as a family? Any tips on talking to your kids about resolutions or our appearance-obsessed society?
Tartakovsky, M. (2012). New Year’s Resolutions For Kids: Going Beyond Beauty & Appearance. Psych Central. Retrieved on April 25, 2015, from http://blogs.psychcentral.com/weightless/2012/01/new-years-resolutions-for-kids-going-beyond-beauty-appearance/