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Look for the good: positive role models

Parent Info has partnered with the Dove Self-Esteem Project to offer parents advice and information to help children and young people build confidence and feel good about themselves. In this article, we look at how teenagers can feel pressured to look a certain way

‘My daughter sees stuff on telly and thinks she has to look like that…it’s the music videos for her – they’re half naked – do they really need to do that to sell a song?’

Many music videos include suggestive lyrics and depict women wearing revealing clothing and using what many parents would consider age-inappropriate dance moves. Jo, a parent who spoke in a Home Office inquiry into the sexualisation of childhood, is concerned about the effect this is having on her daughter. 

‘My daughter sees stuff on telly and thinks she has to look like that…it’s the music videos for her – they’re half naked – do they really need to do that to sell a song?’. 

If you notice that your child watches a lot of music videos and perhaps feels pressure to look a certain way, rather than try to ban or limit their access to music channels, try to focus on positive examples of music videos; there are many examples that go against the trend of sexualising women.

Tip: Cherry-pick ‘good’ videos

Adele, M.I.A and the rock band Savages are examples of female artists who have opted for a strong, positive look. Watch some of their music videos with your child and ask them what they find different and what they like about them in comparison to other music videos. 

Read more on female stereotypes in music

‘Think about how you talk about body image and appearances’ 

Dr Phillippa Diedrichs, a psychologist from the University of West England, specialising in evidence-based strategies to improve body confidence, delivers her message to parents in this video. She recognises that promoting body confidence can be difficult for parents and that they need to think carefully about how they talk about their own appearances in front of their child. She also highlights the importance of using evidence-based resources, such as the Confident Me workshop, for a positive impact on young people. 

Download your FREE 40-page parent guide to boosting your child's self-esteem here

This downloadable pdf contains expert advice from Dove Self-Esteem Project global experts from the fields of psychology, body image, self-esteem, eating disorders and media representation to create a resource for parents that is focused on advice and action.  

Teachers: for free downloadable teaching resources, go to the Dove Self-Esteem Project area on

These pages are brought to you by Parent Zone and the Dove Self-Esteem Project


The advice published on Parent Info is provided by independent experts in their field and not necessarily the views of Parent Zone or NCA-CEOP.

First published: September 2017



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