Ways to Foster Healthy Body Image in Children & Teens
- Build Healthy Self-Esteem
- Educate Yourself
- Counter Unhealthy Media Messages
- Encourage Physical Activity
- Teach Your Child Ways to Handle Teasing and Pressure
- Help Your Children Learn About and Adjust to the Changes of Puberty
- Provide a Range of Food Choices and Healthy Snacks
- Choose Coaches who Promote Healthy Body Image
| In our culture
body image and self-esteem are so entangled.
Q: Amy, age 6, is taller and bigger than all her friends. Many people - from relatives to store clerks - comment on how tall or how big she is and how fast she's growing.
Amy is becoming self-conscious and asks her Dad if she will always be different from everyone else.
A: Amy's Dad might say: "Each person has his own special clock inside that tells her body how fast and how big to grow. In our family most of us are big and tall. This means we are strong and can do many things.
Being different is sometimes difficult because other kids tease you. It's more important to be good people than to be all the same."
Let your child know she is loved and valued for who she is. Focus on qualities such as her loving personality, being a good friend, having a great imagination, or being kind to animals - instead of weight and appearance.
See also: Building Self-Esteem
| A generation or
more has grown up seeing worry about
weight and frequent dieting as the "norm" for
girls and women.
body... shape your life."
"Thin is the only size to be - as long as you have buns of steel and 6 pack abs."
Help kids see that the images in magazines, TV and movies are altered in many ways to "appear" perfect and sell more products - no one looks like that in real life, not even the models themselves.
The media also has a strong influence on the foods children choose for themselves and urge their parents to buy.
8, is a bookworm and a computer whiz - sports
just don't interest him."
Children who do not like organized or team sports often enjoy individual or family activities. Parents can plan activities such as:
age 12, tells her parent she doesn't want much
for lunch because other kids are teasing her
about getting fat.
A: Lindsay's parent might tell her that:
Avoid making comments or teasing about weight and shape yourself. A child or teen who is feeling self-conscious and vulnerable about body image may take even mild comments very seriously.
am I getting breasts before all my friends?
A: Check out the facts together...
Q: I keep growing taller - I hate being so skinny.
A: Just by being a good listener you'll help your child handle the natural anxiety that comes with so much change.
Q: Why am I getting all these pimples?
A: Respect pre-teens and teens needs for privacy when bathing or changing.
|See Eating well|