The Seven Principles of the M.O.D. Squad

1. 1.BALANCE BUDDY WITH ROLE MODEL
My daughter’s need for a role model trumps my desire to be her friend. My words--about my daughter, my own body, and others—shape her beliefs and attitudes about beauty, fat, appearance, weight, and being female. I’ll eliminate diet-talk and negative body-talk.
2. BALANCE PHYSICAL WITH EMOTIONAL NEEDS
I’ll teach her to honor the wisdom of her body by helping her differentiate the needs of her stomach from the needs of her heart, respecting her hunger and fullness signals. I will teach and show her healthy, effective ways to cope with difficult feelings.
3. BALANCE HEALTH WITH FLEXIBILITY
I’ll help her choose foods based on good nutrition mixed with flexibility. I’ll be active in order to stay fit, strong and happy, not to become thin or punish myself for eating. Perfectionism is the problem, not the solution.
4. BALANCE BODY-IMAGE WITH SELF-IMAGE
I’ll help her develop a body image based on what her body does for her rather than how it looks. I’ll help her appreciate the changes in her body as it grows and develop her self-image based on internal qualities.
5. BALANCE EMPATHY WITH ASSERTIVENESS
I’ll help her develop an appreciation for her own needs along with empathy for others. I’ll encourage her to speak up when boundaries are violated or she senses injustice in her world.
6. BALANCE SAFETY WITH CONTROL
While mindful of safety concerns, I’ll give her opportunities to make decisions and to deal with the consequences of these decisions.
7. BALANCE ENJOYMENT OF MEDIA WITH A CRITICAL EYE
I’ll help her to view media critically, being aware of messages promoting intolerance, materialism, sexism, weightism, violence against females or the sexualization of children. I’ll promote change by using my voice to promote systemic change.
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The M.O.D. Squad

The Backstory

As Dina’s sons entered grade school, she started to hear alarming stories from moms of young girls; an 8-year-old was in tears because her friends wouldn’t eat the cake at her birthday party; a 3-year-old wouldn’t put on her winter coat “because it made her look fat.” Dina suspected that some mothers, caught up in their own struggles with food and dieting, might be inadvertently sending the wrong messages to their kids.

She thought about the skills she was teaching her teen and adult clients in therapy and wondered how she might help moms teach these skills to young girls. She recalled the playgroup she attended when her sons were babies and the wisdom she gained from other moms. Realizing that busy moms of grade schoolers might be disconnecting from other moms, she set out to create a forum for moms to share insight, wisdom and support: The M.O.D. Squad (for Moms Of Daughters) was born!

About The M.O.D. Squad Workbook

Based on seven principles for raising healthy girls, Dina wrote the M.O.D. Squad Workbook to help moms prevent their daughters from developing the problems she was encountering in her therapy clients. The M.O.D. Squad Workbook provides a useful guideline for groups of moms (dads, too!) to discuss and explore the factors that can contribute to eating and body image problems in kids. The discussion questions in the M.O.D. Squad Workbook gently encourage moms to examine their attitudes and behaviors so that they can be positive role models for their children. It explores how we talk about “fat;” attitudes about food, dieting, and exercise; issues of control and perfectionism, as well as how to moderate the negative impact of peers and the culture through assertiveness, media literacy and activism. Homework, handouts and suggestions for mother-daughter activities help reinforce key messages.

If you are interested in starting a M.O.D. Squad group in your area, contact www.MyEdin.org.