I Like My Appearance But My Mom Thinks…

Dear Dr. Stacey,
Q. I know many girls who have problems feeling good about how they look. I am proud to say that I like my appearance. The problem I am having is that my mom thinks I’m fat. How can you feel good about yourself when someone close to you, who you need to respect, does not approve of your appearance?

Answer: This is a sticky situation, however, it is a solvable problem. You are going to run into many people that have opinions about you and others. The best thing you can do for yourself is to make up your own opinions. In this situation it sounds like your mom is hurting you and you need to let her know how you feel. Just because we disagree with someone’s opinion does not mean we can’t have a conversation about our differences.

Practicing the following skills will help you have a dialogue with your mom. An easy way to remember these skills is using the acronym “DEAR MAN.” Each letter corresponds to a different skill you need to remember when communicating with someone.

The “D” is for describe. Describe the situation to your mom. This doesn’t always need to be done, but it is something you should think about before you have the conversation.
The “E” is for express. Express your feelings.

“A” is for assert. Make sure you are letting your mom know what you need or want. It is your time to say, “Hey, I want something different.”

The “R” is for reinforce. Sometimes it is helpful to reinforce people before they respond to you in a positive way by telling them what they will receive by giving you what you want or need.

“M” is for mindful. Stay focused on getting your goal met. You can do this by expressing your opinion or thought over and over again or ignore threats and attacks by sticking to your point and not getting defensive.

The “A” stands for appear confident. Use a confident voice and always look the person in the eye.

“N” is for negotiate. Be willing to give to get. If you get stuck you can always throw the problem on to them and say, “What do you think we should do?”

Stacey Soeldner, Psy.D.
Clinical Psychologist
Riverhill Psychological Associates

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