CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) - Rheagan Emmons is a beautiful almost 2-year-old with pink tennis shoes, little blonde curls, and a big, happy smile.
"She's perfect," Chelsi Emmons, Rheagan's mom said. "The way she is. And as long as she's happy, that's all that matters"
Rheagan has a few years before she starts worrying about make-up and dieting, but her mom says it's not too early to start teaching her little one about the importance of positive body image.
"We try to teach them to respect themselves more than anything," Emmons said. "We dog ourselves, we put ourselves down, then they're going to think that they're supposed to judge themselves badly."
Experts say Simmons has it right. They say moms have the biggest impact on how their daughters see themselves.
"How do you do beauty as a woman?" Dana Branson, a mother of a 13-year old girl and a licensed social worker, said. "Well, you tend to look at your mom. So, I do see that. I am her example."
Branson says negative message from the media are thrown at her daughter every day.
"We will notice that our models are tall, caucasian, long-haired, beautiful girls with absolutely no flaws on their skin," Branson said. "So, of course, my daughter wants to go to the dermatologist. She wants to have absolutely no pimples. She wants to have perfect hair every single day, and it's just not possible. So, that's something that we talk about, that we all are created a special way with a purpose."
She says that's why it's important for mothers to focus on both their own and their daughter's inner beauty.
"We need to be careful about how we focus on our own flaws, or own weight issues, our own beauty aspects that we would like to have changed," Branson said. "That doesn't need to be a center point of conversation. That's something that our girls don't need to hear us being obsessed about."
Branson says she uses tools, like this video, that show how unrealistic many television and magazine advertisements can be.