January 22, 2014 by thehealthyheartcenter
Teens who feel good about their bodies tend to be happier, have more energy to do the things they love, and possess the confidence to succeed. On the other hand, teens who are insecure about their bodies usually battle with anxiety and have the potential to develop eating disorders. Body image is formed as early on as preschool, and affects the way we feel about ourselves throughout our lives. That is why it is important to help your children develop positive body images early on. When your child is secure with herself, health and well-being naturally fall into place. Follow these tips inspired by eatright.org to help instill a positive outlook in your child:
- Role Model Confidence– Recognize that your own body image issues have the potential to rub off on your child. If you are always complaining about how your thighs are too big or that you need to start a crash diet, chances are your son or daughter will internalize these thoughts. Before you know it, your child’s confidence will plummet as he or she critiques every little thing about his or her body too.
- Health > Weight– Don’t focus on numbers by counting calories and pounds. Promote healthy choices that nourish your child’s body instead. Making sure he or she gets enough protein or exercise is more important than any number that shows up on the scale. When you focus more on good nutrition instead of weight, things will naturally fall into place.
- Get Your Child Moving with an Activity She Actually Likes– Physical activity is an important component of a healthy lifestyle. Athletic capability helps improve confidence, and therefore promotes a positive body image. However, forcing your child to participate in a sport that she doesn’t like or isn’t good at will not build her confidence. Realize that different children have different likes and competencies; it is important to find the right activity for them. So your child isn’t a soccer star? So what! There are plenty of other fun activities to get her moving, like karate, dance, or biking!
- Look Out for Bullies— Weight-related issues are often the target of bullying. It’s a slippery slope when a child who already doesn’t feel good about his body is teased into having a negative body image. Don’t let your child’s confidence be affected by bullies by taking advantage of his school’s resources. If you believe your child is a victim of bullying, be sure to contact the school counselor or administrator.
- Let Your Child Know There is No Such Thing as a “Perfect Body”– Children are easily affected by what they see on TV and in the magazines. The media has created an unrealistic vision of what the “perfect body” is. Communicate to your children that models in magazines are often retouched and do not look like that in real life. Being healthy is more important than striving for an unrealistic “ideal” body.