How to Help Teens Overcome Body Image Issues

Teens experience a radical change in their body after reaching puberty, which in turn starts making them feel self-conscious. However, the real problem occurs when they begin comparing their bodies to the computer-enhanced or photoshopped images of models and actors. This is when they start believing that they are too thin, too fat, too tall or too short. The good news is that parents have a strong influence on their kids. What you say and do has the power to change the way they think and feel. Capitalize on this advantage to help them develop a healthy body image. We’ve discussed a few ways in which you can do that.

Encourage Teen to Express Their Feelings

The first thing you must do is to find out what your teen really think about their body image. That is important because once you know what they are thinking, it becomes a whole lot easier for you to help them overcome their insecurities and become more confident about their body. You may ask questions like:

  • what is it that they like about their body the most;
  • if given a chance, which body part would they like to change or replace;
  • in their opinion, which celebrity, athlete, or model has an ideal body;
  • are they satisfied with their body weight and height?

The idea is to basically get them to talk about their innermost securities pertaining to their body.

Boost Teen’s Self-Esteem and Confidence

Negative body image is a result of lower self-esteem and lack of confidence, so you need to focus on boosting them both. You can do this by giving them compliments on little things and highlighting their positive features and traits, for example the way they smile, their jolly nature, the way they show care towards their siblings, etc. Your positive words will surely make them feel good about themselves and add to their confidence.

Talk About Artificial Perfection

Media plays a negative role in developing a healthy body image among teens. Youngsters see the perfect bodies on televisions and the internet, and begin comparing their own bodies to those. You must explain to your teen that everything they watch on media is not entirely true, unless they are watching a news or documentary channel of course. Talk to them about the amount of work that goes into making people look the way they look while the camera is rolling, including lighting effects, makeup, camera angles, etc. Furthermore, encourage them to start thinking beyond the body weight, body height, and skin color as there is much more to beauty than these materialistic standards we have set for ourselves.

Act as a Role Model

Giving long lectures alone is not a solution. If you really need results, then you must practice what you preach. Refrain from voicing a negative opinion about anyone’s body, especially your teen’s. Completely avoid the usage of words like fat and thin, instead going for words like healthy and unhealthy. Don’t spend too much time obsessing over your own body in front of them, as they are definitely going to pick that habit off you.

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