I’m really excited to start adding video articles into the mix. Watch for one every month or so from here on out. The first video is something near and dear to my heart… improving self esteem through family photographs.
As parents we do everything we can for our kids. We support them in their sports, enroll them in the best schools, help them with their homework, read with them at night, and the list goes on…
With both my kids, but especially with our daughter, I’m extra careful with the words I use. I grew up with a really negative body image and I want to ensure that every message I’m giving our little girl, whether spoken or non-verbal, contributes to the best body image and self-esteem possible.
But what if there’s something you could be doing, and you’re not. Not because you don’t feel like it, but because you just don’t know about it.
Well, there is.
Studies have shown that displaying family photographs in your home can increase your child’s self-esteem and sense of belonging.
First I want to point out that the study doesn’t say having family photographs taken improves your child’s self-esteem and sense of belonging. Neither the session itself nor the digital files sitting on your computer have the power to do that.
And it’s not that you have to spend 5 minutes every day staring at those photographs on your wall. It’s that those photographs are there on your wall as your daughter is coming downstairs for breakfast, or while she’s doing her homework, or watching TV, or texting her friends or whatever. They’re just there.
It’s that every day exposure that reinforces the fact that she is love and cared for and accepted; and that whatever else happens in her day, you’re her tribe.
The other thing about improving self esteem through family photographs, is that the type of family photographs you display matter. The study didn’t go into the type of family photographs you display in your home but I firmly believe the type of photographs you display matters.
Imagine a photograph where you’re all standing stiffly, looking right at the camera with your ‘camera smiles’ on. It might be a technically great portrait but does it really show who you are as a family? And what was going on right before that photograph was taken? Were you loving on your kids and really enjoying them or were you criticizing – telling them to stand up straight and that they better smile nice, not that weird smile they do.
I’m not saying that there is anything wrong with a great photograph of everyone looking at the camera. I always make sure to take some of those, because that’s the one grandma’s going to want.
And you may end up putting that one on your wall too. But I bet it will be alongside that one of all of you squished together and giggling, or that one of you and your daughter – her in mid-laugh and looking so happy, cracking up at something you just said. Or maybe that one of her looking at the camera while you give her a hug. That one where she’s genuinely happy because, even though she may have started the session too cool for school, you’ve actually all had a pretty amazing time together.
Those are the photographs that show your kids that they are good and loved and completely accepted. And while I’m fairly sure your kids aren’t thanking you everyday for all the things you do for them, they’re seeing it in those photographs.
One final point about using family photographs to foster good self-esteem in our kids…
In general, most people tend to think of family photographs when their kids are little. I photograph a lot of young families and love it. The kids are cute and easy-going and adorable and full of laughs. And those are amazing photographs that you’ll treasure for years.
But I really think that, from a self-esteem perspective, the most important years for family photographs are the slightly older years. The teen years, yes, but those tween years especially. Because aren’t those the years you really want your daughter – and your son too for that matter – to know she is loved and accepted and worthy of being displayed on the wall. Those years when she’s struggling to figure out puberty and bullying and friends and who she’s starting to be in this world, those are the important years for family photographs.
To find out more about a family photography session that ensures you have meaningful photographs on your walls, check out our family photographs session experience then call the studio and tell me more about your amazing kids.
Sole Girls Sole Awesome 5Km Run
I need to share an amazing event coming up with a goal near and dear to my heart. Sole Girls is a local Vancouver organization that, using running games, empowers girls ages 8 through 12 with tools to develop healthy ideas about body image, media, healthy living, peers, and self-esteem. Through 8 week running training programs, girls are motivated, and supported to build their confidence, and self esteem.
If you have a tween, I highly suggest checking out the website for a training program in your area. And, whether you have a tween or not, everyone can join in for the first ever Sole Awesome 5km Run at Deer Lake Park in Burnaby on May 24th, 2015. With a fun activity every km this race isn’t about who can run the fastest or finish with a great time. It’s all about spending time together as a family, living a healthy lifestyle, feeling great and, most importantly…. having fun.