Monday, July 12, 2010

Modeling behavior

This is another post about the neighbor's with kids, but it's not so much about the children as it is their mother. Their mother is the guidance counselor at a nearby school. I've talked with her a few times, and she seems incredibly nice. Amazingly, she has lived her entire life in the house beside me, so she and my neighbor on the other side of me (she has 4 sons aged 19-23/34 all living there) have filled me in on the past history of my house, the people who live nearby, etc. It's not really gossiping, just what I'd call neighborly tidbits of information.

Anyway, something I've noticed about my neighbor with the young children is how much she wears her bathing suit outside. I'm kind of awed by it--in a good way. It's certainly been hot and humid here, but still, you wouldn't catch me dead in a bathing suit out weeding or gardening. Now, I realize I do not know her well enough to know if this is just her personality or how she feels about her body, but I do think this is good modeling behavior. She doesn't appear to wear the bathing suit as a flaunting type behavior--she is modest-a one piece with a skirt, but rather more for comfort. And this is even after she had her youngest child a year ago. My thinking is along the lines that there is at least some body comfort, or else should not wear one at all.

I know everyone is different about wearing bathing suits, and just because a parent might wear one doesn't mean their kid is going to have bad body image. But I do think modeling this sort of behavior can be positive. There are many studies that show how children are influenced by their parents' habits, behaviors, thoughts, and comments.

The oldest child is 6 or 7 and not as svelte as her siblings, still carrying much of her baby body, so I worry about her especially as she becomes older. M. is articulate, intelligent, and has a lot going for her from what I've seen. I'd just hate to see her fall into the bad body image trap that so many young girls do. I'm hopeful that her mother's modeling behavior will have a positive effect on her body image. As always, only time will tell.


Rachel W. said...

Our mothers are our biggest models as youngsters. I would think you are right in saying that your neighbor being comfortable with her body will encourage her daughter to be the same way.

Fabulous blog by the way…I look forward to following.

Check out my recovery blog at (It’s private so it may prompt you to “request” an invite.)

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