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You Have to Say I'm Pretty, You're My Mother

You Have to Say I'm Pretty, You're My Mother

How to Help Your Daughter Learn to Love Her Body and Herself

Award-winning journalist Stephanie Pierson has successfully helped her teenage daughter recover from an eating disorder. New York psychotherapist Phyllis Cohen has successfully treated body image issues of teenage girls for more than twenty-five years. The result of their collaboration is a groundbreaking, much-needed resource for mothers who are trying to help their daughters navigate the difficult years of adolescence.
Smart, straightforward, and accessible, You Have to Say I'm Pretty, You're My Mother is the first book to combine insightful thinking and hard-won wisdom with practical advice and clear answers on everything from issues as complex as the difference between disordered eating and eating disorders to those as topical as body piercing and promiscuity.
Teenage girls present their mothers with a unique set of challenges, especially where the issue of body image is concerned. The passage from childhood to adulthood is fraught with real perils for girls coming of age today; they are constantly bombarded with messages that no matter how they look, they are always falling short of some unrealistic physical ideal. In addition, they are told that they have to grow up emotionally and sexually, and do it fast. Just when a girl needs her mother's guidance the most, she is trying to separate from her mother and establish her own identity. So an innocent comment like "Isn't that skirt a little short?" can result in a storm of tears and slammed doors, effectively breaking off any communication and leaving both feeling equally alone and misunderstood.
In You Have to Say I'm Pretty, You're My Mother, Pierson and Cohen give you guidance, perspective, and hope. They'll show you how to listen to your daughter, and decode what she is really asking when she says, "Do I look particularly fat today?" They give you the real answers to the universal mother questions: "What do I do now?" and "What happened to the little girl who loved me?" They explain why every slammed door will eventually open and how to build a closer relationship.
There are sample dialogues, lists (funny and smart ones like the ten things you should never say to your daughter about sex, and just plain smart ones, like how to know if your daughter is at risk for an eating disorder), a chapter just for fathers (who are often every bit as inscrutable as their daughters), and a section of resources and reading for both parents and daughters. Picking up where Reviving Ophelia left off, this funny, wise, invaluable guide will give you the tools to help your daughter feel good about herself, body and soul.
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  • Simon & Schuster | 
  • 272 pages | 
  • ISBN 9780743229180 | 
  • May 2003
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Read an Excerpt

Chapter One: Body Image Basics

There are a few core questions all mothers have: Why is my daughter so focused on her body? Why does she have such a negative body image? Do all girls have body image issues? Which girls are most vulnerable? Is my daughter one of them?

There are three core facts that are at the heart of all these questions. First, there are more factors than ever before (cultural, relational, sexual, social) that contribute to your daughter's having problems loving the way she looks.

Second, while there are many factors in your relationship with your daughter that will influence her behavior, how you see your... see more

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