It is no secret that being a teenager can be a rough time. Body image is a big part of adolescence and your daughter’s body is going through big changes. The way they see themselves starts to become more important than ever. As a parent, it can be hard to know what to do when your child is unhappy about the way they look, but there are many ways you can help your daughter have a healthy body image both physically and mentally.
Most body image issues in adolescents come from feeling pressured to look a certain way. It’s a hard journey to understanding why some of us can’t look the way we want and this can be caused a number of different factors.
As a teenage girl’s body begins to change, they become more interested in their physical appearance. At times they can be really critical of the way they see themselves and what they wish they looked like. Sometimes what they think they are seeing in the mirror is completely different from what they actually look like. This can have a negative effect on their self esteem and mental health, and they can carry this into their later life that may lead to more serious issues such as eating disorders and depression.
If you notice signs in that your daughter may be suffering from body image issues don’t panic. With some great support and encouragement you can get your daughter back on track and realising just how beautiful she really is on the inside and out. Here are some great points that may help you.
If your child is experiencing signs of an unhealthy body image, listen to how they feel about the changes their body is going through. If your daughter is making negative comments about her appearance or comparing her body to others, take it as opportunity to start a conversation. Don’t rush into telling them they are wrong for feeling this way and instead use it to get an insight into why your daughter feels like this and what is the cause. By doing this it shows your daughter that you are her number one support and she can reach out to you when she is feeling down about her body image. By knowing that you can understand and listen to her she is more likely to be open about her issues. The last thing she wants right now is to be lectured about loving herself. Being supportive is key so by offering to work through this together, your daughter will feel as though she can pull through these negative feelings and make a positive change. For example if her body image issues are from being overweight from unhealthy eating habits or lack of physical exercise, you can support her by making an action plan together. Nightly walks after dinner or a healthy eating plan for the both of you to follow is a great start.
Be the Example
It is not only at the adolescence stage that our body goes through dramatic changes. Middle age and becoming a mother are also times when our body changes. It is important to set a good example for your child when it comes to body image. It can start with actively practicing healthy eating habits like providing more healthy foods such as fruit and vegetables and avoiding fatty food and take away food in the home.
It is important to show your daughter that you have a positive attitude towards yourself and your body image. This is not just your physical image but also showing that you are proud of other things about yourself that aren’t related to your appearance. An example of this may be showing confidence through being good at something like a sport or your interest in reading. There are many reasons why we should love ourselves and it important to make it known to your daughter that you have a lot to offer the world. It shows her that there are more important things she has to appreciate about herself besides her appearance.
Talk with your daughter about the media and celebrities they look up to. Educate them on the celebrity world and the airbrushing and enhancements they do to photographs. Help them to see that the media put out a false image of what a body should look like and that it is an unrealistic expectation to aspire to look like the images they may see.
See the signs and act
Look out for changes to the way your child behaves such a mood swings, anti social behaviour or changes to eating habits. If you notice your daughter may be suffering from an unhealthy body image try to find out what is triggering these negative feelings. It could be a number of different things, it is important to find out what exactly it is so you can promptly address the issue. Some things that may be triggering your child’s feeling of a negative body image could be: peer pressure, bullying, poor examples, siblings or family teasing them about the way they look, feeling pressure to look like celebrities, obesity, poor eating habits.
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Article written by Shahn Lush for EntreprenHer.