In ‘The Sixty Minute Mother’ Rob Parsons writes, ‘as that baby grows she will assess from a million messages- some screamed at her from adverts, some whispered in school playgrounds and most unsaid – whether or not she is ‘beautiful’. Unless that child is destined to be one of the few who meet the standard she will have to do battle with the world if she is to hold on to her self-esteem’.
We would love to eradicate the need for that battle completely (and we dream that one day the war will indeed be won) but we need a shorter-term solution for those children who are growing up in our care now. At See the Heart, we equip children with the shields that will make their fight a great deal easier. We ensure they walk in to that battle confidently, already with the knowledge that their worth is not dependent on the way that they look, so that any jabs or shots that are aimed at them, bounce off.
We help to ensure that the playground is not a battleground, as we teach children that commenting on the appearance of others is neither acceptable as an insult, nor helpful as a compliment. We also train school staff to understand how to support our message in school, so that the battle isn’t just postponed a day or two, but cancelled altogether. Finally, we advise parents how to support their child to have a positive relationship with their body and with food, as no child deserves to have to do battle at home.
To help you understand the need for our programme in Primary schools, take a look at these statistics:
- 66% of children feel negative or very negative about their body image most of the time (Parliamentary special report)
- 24% of childcare professionals have seen body confidence issues in children aged 3-5 years old and 47% have seen these issues in 6-10 year old children. (PACEY – Professional Association for Childcare and Early Years)
- 55% of young people have been bullied about their appearance and 54% of these say it started by the age of 10 years old (Be Real’s ‘In Your Face’ campaign)
- 78% of students would like to learn more about body image in school (Parliamentary special report)
- Only 5% of under 18s wouldn’t change their appearance (Parliamentary special report)
- 31% of teenagers have considered, or know their friends have considered, changing their appearance through cosmetic surgery (Parliamentary special report)
- 43% of girls don’t join in with sports for fear of being judged over their appearance (Girl Guiding UK’s ‘Girls’ Attitudes Survey’)
- 34% of 5 year old girls already restrict their food intake (International Journal of Eating Disorders)
- 52% of girls said that in the past week they had seen airbrushed images in the media that made them feel pressured to look different (Girl Guiding UK’s ‘Girls’ Attitudes Survey’)
- 1 in 5 girls have avoided contributing to discussion/giving an opinion for fear of being judged over how they look (The Real Truth about Beauty – Dove commissioned report)
We believe that through our message, we can change the statistics above and help children to reach their potential – academically, physically and socially.