Enhancing your child’s body image
Body image problems are common in today’s society, especially among youth. As a parent, you need to look out for cues to see if your child is struggling with this. Some typical areas of concern may be that your child is comparing themselves to other children such as their peers or actors on TV. They may say things like “I wish I looked like them” or ask others how they look when compared to these people. It is important to note any conversations that you hear them having with friends that may alarm you so you can discuss it later. Be on the look out for a change in eating habits and dietary concerns that cause them to obsess about food. Their intentions may not be to try and eat healthy but instead they are trying to gain the figure that they want. If you feel that your child is showing signs of an unhealthy body image, then you can assist them in obtaining more self esteem.
When you sit down with your child to talk about this sensitive issue the first thing that they should know is that their body will constantly change during this stage of life. This will help with a multitude of body issues that could possibly be associated with going through an awkward phase. Another issue may arise from a child’s view of what they think constitutes as being healthy. Their lack of knowledge on this subject may greatly askew how they view themselves. If your child would like to become healthier then you can set realistic goals together and work on reasonable options toward food and exercise as a family. When children feel healthy and happy from nutrients and activities they may focus less on how they look and concentrate more on how they feel. Let them know about different body types and show them successful people in every category. You basically want to start an ongoing conversation about everything linked to body issues that will help you address as many areas as you can.
Setting an example of a healthy body image yourself is very important. Don’t insult your looks or body in front of your child. This may cause them to become hyper-critical of themselves at a young age. Embrace your flaws, let your child know which features you like about yourself that make you unique, then ask your child to do the same for themselves. Let them know about any body issues that you had growing up and how you overcame them. Show them pictures from your younger years. They may feel better once they know that they are not alone and that everyone has hang ups about their own body. These issues stay with us for a long time, even into adulthood, so by giving them a healthier body image now they may continue to develop one as an adult.