Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. (Ephesians 4:29)
With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. (James 3:9)
In the article below, the author suggests that the best way to give your daughter a higher self-esteem is to STOP TALKING BAD ABOUT YOUR OWN BODY!!! I am thrilled that someone else shares my sentiment on this. Often we find ourselves telling our daughters how beautiful they are and yet we are constantly dissatisfied with our own appearance. Our children hear, “Why don’t you look just like your mom!”—right after we have just gone on an on about how our arms flap or we have too high of a forehead—or whatever. We tell our children not to be concerned with appearances yet we pluck our eyebrows, dye our hair, squeeze into those spanx so we can wear that dress that makes us look “younger” than we really are…yeesh! And we wonder why our teen is so annoyed with her body…uhm, she is just doing what we’re doing!
Anyway, I can tell you right now that our children listen. Even as the mother of boys I must be careful with how I speak about my own body. When I was recovering from my eating disorder after the birth of my second child, I constantly spoke of how my children had ruined my body…I would NEVER get it back I thought. It never occurred to me that my little children might feel like they were to blame for my constant discontent, my attitude, and eventually my illness. Now, by the grace of God, my children do not remember much of that time, so I have not seen that issue come up. However, before we degrade our own body (especially our “post-child” body) in front of our children, let’s think about how those words might sound to them. (Remember, depending on the age of the child, they might still be very concrete thinkers and “My kids RUINED my body” is more than just a figure of speech to them.)
As Christians, we are called to keep a tight reign on our tongue (see James, Chapter 3) because it has the power to steer us in negative or positive direction. Ephesians tells us to only speak what is helpful in building others up and benefiting those around us. What benefit is it to anyone to degrade our bodies? (Which, according to Scripture, happen to be the temples of the Holy Spirit!) NONE! Not only are we placing ourselves in danger, but we can lead our children down a path towards discontent and low regard for their bodies as the gifts from God that they are!
Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? (1 Corinthians 6:19)
But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. (1 Corinthians 12:18)
For more on how what WE say affects those around us, read this article: