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 Helping Your Teens Develop a Healthy Body Image

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Join date : 2013-07-08

Helping Your Teens Develop a Healthy Body Image Empty
PostSubject: Helping Your Teens Develop a Healthy Body Image   Helping Your Teens Develop a Healthy Body Image Icon_minitimeMon Sep 23, 2013 8:13 pm


Helping Your Teens Develop a Healthy Body Image

A few months earlier my daughter started to take longer than normal to get dressed. At first, I automatically assumed she was distracted, or just being lazy. Then I realized she was actually setting her hair, and paying more attention to how she looked from every angle.

While a part of me was overwhelmed at her growing into a young lady, I was also worried if her physical appearance would now directly impact her self-esteem.

Body image is how you view your physical self, including whether you feel you are attractive, and whether others like your looks.

This is not a new phenomenon. Growing up, many of us have had to deal with being a little shorter, or heavier than our peers. But the immensity of importance of body image has increased in the last few generations.

There are city wide inter college pageants held for hardly 17 year olds, sponsored by popular cosmetic brands that clearly advertise fame and popularity based on looks. This makes me very uncomfortable, as I wonder how the children who are not blessed with the ‘socially accepted’ kind of height, weight, or appearance will get affected. I am not judging the event. Only thing that worries me is that these girls are already at a very impressionable age, and this kind of slotting can sometimes scar someone for a lifetime.

While we can blame the exposure of the media, movies, internet and the fashion spheres for this kind of mind-set, as parents there are a few things that we can do to make our daughters more secure about their bodies.

Instil Confidence and Encourage A Healthy Way of Life

I have stressed it in my earlier features, that weight is the top concern on any teenage girls’ mind. Most teenage girls, even the ones in the adequate weight range, believe that their weight is not appropriate.

This can lead to insecurity and the child may begin to withdraw, so as not to be ridiculed. As parents, we can work towards instilling confidence in our daughters. Not encouraging obesity or being overweight, we could help the child in understanding that each body type is different, and how they should not link their self-worth to their physical appearance. Creating a healthy environment with good lifestyle and eating habits at home goes a long way in absorbing these tendencies.

Do Not Criticize

We are used to reprimanding kids when they are younger. However, as children get older they begin to misinterpret the same as criticizing. When you say something like ‘Why don’t you wear clothes that fit you?’ they may think that you are implying they are too fat or too thin.

We have to understand that there is a lot of pressure already on the child. We have to find a more mature and less intimidating way of explaining the reasons for our preferences to them.

Self Esteem Beyond Appearance

Delink self-esteem from physical appearance by making looks a non-issue at home. Concentrate on the other strengths like sports, music or hobby, to develop confidence in teenagers. This should be done in a casual and effortless manner. Children generally see though it, if you consciously avoid a topic. Your child mirrors your attitude about your body. If you are constantly worrying about your looks, chances are they may see themselves more that way.


Every relationship, issue or problem always is best addressed and prevented through healthy communication. Communication with your child does not start all of a sudden. it has to be nurtured over the years, may be from the time the child is a toddler.

From the day we become mothers, we strive to provide the children with the best material comfort, support, advice and love we can. The most important of all these, in my opinion, is to make sure that they know that they can talk to us about everything with us. We have to stop over-reacting or being judgemental with them when they talk.

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