Being a parent is the hardest job in the world. Ask any parent and they’ll tell you: it is incredibly rewarding while also being incredibly difficult. In today’s society, there is a lot to contend with, from bullying to media pressure and more. One major issue that plagues our youth is negative body image. Turn on the television and you’ll see, in the span of a few minutes, ads for weight loss coupled with ads for fast food. Dr. Sheri Myers, therapist, author, and television host, noted that not only is having a positive body image challenging, it is increasingly challenging for young women.
“Women are more often judged by their beauty than men are. Men are judged by how worldly and strong they are,” she said. Which means that teen girls are especially subject to crushing self-consciousness—particularly as they go through puberty and start to date since people in relationships often base happiness on how they feel about their bodies.
It is especially difficult for teens to have positive body images, when they are hitting puberty and going through a wide array of changes, both physically and mentally. As parents, you want to help your children to feel their best, no matter what. And starting out as a positive parental influence as soon as possible is key to giving your child or teen a positive image they can carry with them. Self-worth shouldn’t be about how thin you are or how attractive you are. A person should love his or her body.
“We need to be able to teach our children that our body is our home,” Myers noted.
One major issue affecting teens is body bashing. We see it happen frequently in the media, at home, and with ourselves. We make negative comments about our own weight, our own grey hairs, our own insecurities. But our children often mirror our behavior, learning from us, and they take that low self-esteem with them. It’s important to give them a positive self-image and to give them the tools to succeed.
Better Stress Management
Kids have a ton of pressure heaped on to their shoulders these days, from the need to excel in school, to the desire to do well in sports, or fit in with the popular crowd. It’s almost too much pressure and it can cause children to crack a bit. Help your child or teen learn how to manage their stress and avoid body image issues that can lead to eating disorders.
Healthy Body Image Activities
Try yoga. It’s been around for years and years and has returned to the spotlight recently. Yoga is a great way to calm the body inside and out, to gain a connection with the body, and to take control over your life. Form a bond with your teens by going to a yoga class with them.