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5 Ways for Parents to Counteract Negative Messages from the Media

abercrombie & fitch

Messages like this are what hurt our young people: “Robin Lewis of the Robin Report told Business Insider that Abercrombie stores purposely don’t carry size XL or plus-sizes because it’s against the corporate image Jeffries is striving to maintain. Lewis said this strategy to omit larger sizes is to help ensure the “cool kids” — which Jeffries does not consider to include overweight women — shop in Abercrombie stores.” via IB Times

Is anyone else bothered by this?

Our retailers, media, popular culture know how to reel in our young kids, with messages that encourage them to buy into the sexualized culture of consumerism.  Abercrombie & Fitch at one time were selling shirts with this on it: “Who Needs a Brain When You Have These?” “Gentlemen Prefer Tig Ol’ Bitties” and “Do I Make You Look Fat?”  And how many retailers are selling thongs and panties with vulgar messages to little girls?

What do these toxic messages do for our young people? This is just one girl’s take: Emma Blackman-Mathis, 16, wrote the following quote, but she’s not alone in her thoughts.

“Abercrombie has a history of insenstivity . . . and there is no company with as big an impact on the standards of beauty. There are kids starving themselves so they can be the ‘Abercrombie girl,’ and there are guys who think they aren’t worthy if they don’t look exactly like the models on the wall.”

I also found this article written by a young man who struggled with an eating disorder in high school and who has started a petition against A & F. I love seeing young people come together and encourage each other. He says, “Whether you can fit into Abercrombie or not, you are beautiful and you do belong! It’s time Abercrombie and Fitch embrace that beauty. You have the potential to be leaders in your groups, to have “a lot of friends,” to be “popular,” to even change the world; because these things are not dependent on the size of your waist, but rather the size of your heart and the length of your ambition.” via Proud 2 Be Me

As if our kids don’t have enough pressure already from their peers. These types of  messages  make me want to let out my momma roar. It makes me want to shield my precious little ones. But for how long? Would it really work?

So I must do what any parent would do: Undo. Undo. Instill. Instill. I must teach them to become critical thinkers.

How to Counteract the STUPID Messages the Media and Popular Culture Feed Our Children

1. Realize your power of influence in the lives of your tweens and high schoolers. As their parent, you are still the most trusted source in the life of your child (even if they think you’re a cheesy). Fill them with your strong values, your bold confidence and the Truth.

2. Help your child think critically about the messages they are hearing and seeing. Start young in discussing with your kids the messages they are bombarded with on a daily basis.

3. Replace the messages with truth. Undo. Undo. Undo. Check in with them and find out what messages they are believing that are shallow and stupid and replace those with truth.

4. Be consistent. Consistent positive messages from you can counteract all of the junk they may hear and see in the media.

5. Money talks. Stand by your values, don’t just talk about them. Don’t shop in venues that are sharing messages that don’t align with your values. I personally will be ditching Fitch!

Is anyone else bothered by these types of messages?

For those of you who follow our Food for Thought Fridays we will be holding it on Sunday in honor of Mother’s Day with heartfelt and hilarious, “You know you’re a mother if…”

image credits: Noel Y. C.

Join me each week on “We Are That Familia.” I am ecstatic to be sharing with you here on Babble.com as their newest Lifestyle Latina contributor on all things “Family” from parenting, recipes, crafts, inspirational (and not so inspirational) stories, and life as we know it. You can catch up on our merrymaking over at my place: Inspired by Familia , on Facebook, on Pinterest.

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