Is Your Child Too Conscious About Body Image? 5 Ways You Can Help Boost Your Child’s Self-confidence!
I’m too tall! I’m too skinny! I’m too short! I’m too fat!
Do these sound familiar? Is your teenage child constantly standing in front of the mirror and complaining? Then you are not alone. Join the league of parents with teenage children who have been flabbergasted with their child’s consciousness regarding her body image! The media, the celebrities and the popular trends today are cornering our children with a persistent consciousness about their body image.
Taken in good spirit their attention to their bodies could be good as it helps them in being mindful of their bodies, developing a healthy body and building a confidence in their skin. The problem arises when this consciousness about their body image stresses them out. The problem takes a psychological turn when instead of viewing their body image as an image of physical self and how it appears to others the child becomes obsessed with self-image and, comparing their body image with their worth and start giving undue importance to how other people value them.
Puberty, growth and related hormonal changes, images portrayed by media, outside influences, families and peer pressure at school all work in a cumulative manner to make your child conscious about their body image. The temptation of being popular, the need to feel accepted, pressure from family and friends force your child to become largely engrossed with a perfect body image. They may develop unhealthy eating habits and indulge in extreme diets, rigorous physical workouts and damaging lifestyles. Dr. Parinda Parikh, a leading teenage psychiatrist at Second Arc Life Center advises that as a parent you can do a lot so your child understands that a healthy body is much more important than a thin and unhealthy one. In Dr.Parikh’s opinion, even if your child keeps hearing from their peers as well as from the media that fat is ugly and thin is great, you should inculcate a feeling that as long as we are healthy and taking care of ourselves, we are happy and should accept ourselves the way we are.
The experts at Second Arc Life Center have put forth a list of top 5 things you can do to help your teenage child in leading a healthy life as well as in accepting and being confident in her own skin.
Set a good example
The first person your teenager is noticing is you. So, be a role model for her. Follow a healthy lifestyle, good eating habits, and good attitudes about self-image, appearance, body image and weight. If you are trying to make your child se through your attempts of setting up the perfect example, follow a regular exercise program. Indulge in a healthy and balanced diet, and be as active as possible in front of your child.
Adopt a positive attitude
If your teenage daughter has a weight issue, always remain positive and help her in reducing weight through a healthy weight loss program. Never pass a negative comment, do not force her to do things to reduce her weight and never compare her with others. She must be bogged down by her weight problem and your negativity may further harm her psychology. Compliment your teenager, appreciate her appearance and join her in her endeavors to lose weight.
In case you have a teenager,needs professional help or consultation Second Arc Life Center offers complete evaluation, consultation and outpatient and day programs to help your child with issues related with body image such as eating disorder and anxiety.
Media is not god!
Prevent your teenage son or daughter from becoming a victim of an over enthusiastic fashion media and teach them to view the media with skepticism. Make your child aware of the techniques such as air brushing, photo manipulation, stylists, personal trainers, cosmetic surgery and other modern tricks
which can make people look beautiful and perfectly slim. Tell them to look at all the pictures and celebrity images with doubt. Help the teenager in reading the real messages underlined in that glossy and glamorous advertisement.
External appearance is not everything
Talent, skills, education and personality are things which will help a teenager in moving towards a successful adult rather than a mere outward appearance. It is important for a teenager to indulge in hobbies, passion and pursuits which may include music, sports, arts, volunteer activities, dancing or anything. Help your teenager develop a positive attitude and approach about themselves and their lives even if they do not have what is socially constructed as the “perfect” body.
Healthy eating should be a combined effort
Healthy lifestyles should be a family affair. The eating, exercising and balanced lifestyle should not come across to your teenager as a restriction. Rather try making all these part of your daily family activities. A teenager who sees good health as a family issue has lesser time to indulge in self-pity or stress.
Lastly, Dr. Adeigbola, also a co-director at Second Life Arc Center suggests that it is important to keep your teenager calm, confident and positive. Take your child to groups where they can enjoy activities such as Yoga, meditation, music therapy and spend time with other children of their age without feeling inadequate. Second Arc Life Center is one such stop for you!