It’s often hard for a teen to feel good about themselves. Everywhere they look, they’re surrounded by images of perfect, beautiful men and women. What they may not realize is that those people spend all day with a trainer, or have had surgery, or the pictures are simply altered. Often times your teens feelings of inadequacy tend to spread past their looks to other areas of their life. As a parent, you serve a vital role in shaping how your child sees themselves. You should take steps to help foster a positive body image for your child.
Watch what you say. Whether they show it or not, your child listens to your opinion. You may think an offhand comment about your child’s weight, intelligence, or other abilities means nothing, but it sticks with them. If your child is overweight, you should avoid pointing it out. It’s fairly unlikely that your teen doesn’t know they have a weight problem. Instead of suggesting they lose weight, suggest taking daily runs together or going to the gym.
Watch what you do. Children learn behaviors by watching other people; their parents included. If you obsess over your weight, your child is likely to do the same. Practice healthy eating and exercise habits and try to include your kids.
Many parents think that problems with self esteem and body image and are isolated to girls; this is not true. While it may not be as prevalent, boys can develop poor body images and eating disorders as well. Boys may also be pushed to develop muscle mass causing them to work out excessively or take steroids. Be sure to encourage a healthy self-image for your sons as well as daughters.
The best thing you can do to improve how your child feels about themselves is to compliment their good attributes. Emphasize the positive things about your child on a regular basis. If you tell them something enough, they’ll soon start to believe in themselves too.
It’s hard to get teens to believe good things about themselves, but if you watch what you say and do, you can help them develop a more positive image of themselves.