Teens Body Image

Self-image is fragile at this time so do what you can to help your teen promote the positive.

Hormones are raging and so are emotions when teens hit puberty. For them, body image is linked to self-esteem. How their friends see them colors the way that they see themselves, even if it is not a fair assessment.

As parents it is our responsibility to step in and help our teens to see themselves in a more realistic light before they face their friends and their opinions. What this does is lay a foundation to help them not only fight back against peer pressure but also increase their self-esteem.

This is a challenging job for parents, especially in this society. Magazines, television programs and even commercials all show us women with impossibly small waists, no blemishes on their face and guys with six-pack abs and perfect hair. Who can live up to that?

Start with a little bit of logic. Realistically, everyone goes through puberty and faces the same problems like pimples and oily skin. A fashion model, whose livelihood depends on their looks, will have a doctor on retainer or even a make-up artist who can cover up those spots. The average teenager doesn’t have access to that.

Also point out that different parts of the body develop at different rates. During puberty, women get fuller in the hips, for example. Body hair starts to grow. Teach them how to work within those parameters. Dads can teach their sons how to shave. Girls can wear clothing that sits well on their new hips.

One of the worst things you can do is mention diets to kids who are slightly overweight. Instead, teach them how to eat. Stock your home with lean meats, healthy snacks, fruit and veggies so that they learn how to eat and enjoy healthier foods. With an active lifestyle in school and going out with their friends, they will work off any excess weight with food changes.

Exercise as a family. We all can use more activity. It gives you a chance to talk to your teen about their body and other issues that they face. Set goals for the activities that you do so they can improve their endurance and strength.

Giving them goals to shoot for improves their self-esteem. This affects their body image positively as well. In addition to that, you can be a positive role model. Act in a way that reflects what you are teaching them. Don’t complain about how you look. Do something to change it, which shows them that they can too.