Promoting a Healthy Body Image in your Teen

Life can be tough for today’s teenagers. They are constantly bombarded with images of how they should look. Media tends to promote thin, fit bodies with flawless skin as the ideal state of existence. To a young person, with a body undergoing changes, it can be difficult to hold their own. They are also painfully aware of the opinions of their peers. Parents struggle to help their teenagers but are often overwhelmed by the pressures and demands of everyday life. 

Children on the edge of adulthood will probably always go through rough times as they try to discover their sense of self and how they fit into the world. There are things parents can do that will help ease their young person’s self doubts and make it easier for them to accept and like their physical body.

Be a model

Although they won’t admit it for a number of years (maybe not even then) teenagers do notice how their parents behave. If mom and dad eat right, prepare healthy snacks and exercise regularly their children are likely to follow the same routines. Most people don’t live perfect lifestyles or have model bodies. Even with a few slips a basically sound lifestyle will be noticed by your children. In addition talk positively about your own body and that of your child. Downplay negative aspects while concentrating on ways to make things better. 

Media influence

Let your teen know that media images are not how everyone looks. She probably all ready knows it but it’s reassuring to hear it from those she loves. Encourage her to become skeptical about the perfect bodies and faces displayed in advertisements. Real people have flaws. The magic of  television and photography are excellent at covering them.

Appearance isn’t everything

Compliment him on things other than his physical appearance. Whatever talents he has encourage him to develop them. Not everyone is a star athlete or superior student. The world would be missing many talented and contributing human beings if that were true. He needs to become accepting of himself and his own special abilities. One of the best gifts you can give him is helping him feel comfortable in his own skin.

Avoid negativity

Be assured if your teenager is out of shape she is painfully aware of the situation. She is probably enduring unkind comments at school and doesn’t need to hear them at home. Gently encourage physical activity. Suggest going for a walk before dinner or joining an exercise class together. Prepare healthy meals and avoid keeping too many empty calorie snacks within easy reach. Build up her self esteem by complimenting her achievements in other areas. If she feels good about herself she’s more likely to begin a healthier lifestyle on her own. It’s important for her to do it for herself.   

Social media

Teenagers are born into an age of instant communication. Postings to social pages can be done from phones. In the blink of an eye an unflattering picture of themselves can be posted on the internet for all to see. The world wide web reaches into the home and gives people the ability to easily attack those they consider vulnerable. It’s important that the family environment be secure and supportive. It’s easier to shrug off the digs by others when one has self esteem. Parents should be aware of what’s going on in their teen’s life and assure them they are a valuable individual.

The road from the teen years to young adulthood will probably be filled with twists and turns and some potholes thrown in for good measure. Some things a teenager has to figure out for himself but parents can provide a supportive haven to which he can retreat. Encourage a healthy lifestyle and show its benefits by example. You will help your teen develop a positive self body image and the confidence they will need in the adult world.