A healthy body image is key to happiness and well-being. Many teens suffer from a poor body image. They are subject to low self-esteem, depression, bouts of dieting and binging, and long-term eating disorders. Parents can help their teens develop a more positive body image.
1.Avoid talking excessively about food and calories. Don’t obsess over food yourself.
2.Don’t talk about your weight, your teen’s weight or someone else’s weight. Don’t make comments about other people looking “good” because they have lost weight.
3.Have fun, but nutritious, food available in your home 24/7, as teens get hungry all the time. Unusual shaped crackers, cheese sticks, carrot and celery sticks, peanut butter crackers, and deli meats are all good snack options.
4.Make food interesting. Find healthy and fun recipes you can make with your teen or your teen can make with a friend. Smoothies are one option. They are nutritious, easy to make and can be made in a variety of flavors.
5.Limit the amount of media to which your teen is exposed. Watch television with her and talk about the media images she sees, like super-skinny models. Try to read beauty magazines with her, so you can talk about unrealistic body images that are portrayed. If possible, keep track of the websites she visits, so you can also discuss those with her, if necessary.
6.Give him compliments. Compliment his appearance when he looks nice. Give him unexpected compliments. Tell him he looks cute when he first gets out of bed in the morning. Remember to compliment his actions too. Actions are just as important as appearance.
7.Encourage positive-self talk. Never let your teen body-bash herself in your presence.
8.Lead by example. Never say anything negative about your body in your teen’s presence. Practice your own positive-self talk in front of your teen.
9.Help develop your teen’s talents. Encourage hobbies, interest in arts and crafts and music and participation in sports. Excelling at extra-curricular activities will help promote self-esteem.
10.Keep the lines of communication open. Let your teen know she can talk to you about any subject. Do not be afraid to bring up body self-image with her, if you see her struggling with it.