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How to help your teenager get over negative body image

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 First, you have to accept them for who they are as a parent (Photo: Courtesy)

Low self-esteem and negative body image are two major things that affect so many people, even in adulthood.

For teenagers particularly, this distorted image of who they are and how they look can be very damaging and the effects can remain rooted for decades. As a parent, it’s very important for you to identify and build a positive self-image in your child from the beginning.

Good thing is, there’s a lot you can do to help your teenager heal and build their self-confidence in case you spot signs like negative self-talk.

Here is how:

Accept them for who they are

For many, a major source of self-esteem issues stems from parents. There are those parents who project certain damaging standards to their children and these kids often develop eating disorders and deep body image problems.

You certainly need to encourage all aspects of healthy living to prevent both extremes of being underweight or overweight. This however shouldn’t be done in a harsh, mean, obsessive way.

Be kind and let them know why they need to eat certain foods or cut some due to the implications they have on their bodies. Help them understand the reasons behind your concerns and this way, it will be easier for them to make better choices.

Teach them about self-acceptance

Accepting yourself is the first step towards healing those low self-esteem wounds. At that teen stage in life, they are exposed to so many damaging body and beauty ideas on social media and the fact that they’re still learning how to be happy with who they are makes them more vulnerable.

On your part, you should counsel them often so that the healing process can begin. You can be having regular counselling sessions where you actually teach them about being content with themselves.

 Let them know its okay to have thick hair or a fat tummy (Photo: Courtesy)
Encourage their strengths

There is more to life than looks. They need to understand that it’s good to take care of their bodies but they should also know that it’s not about chasing after a certain ideal.

Let them know that it’s okay if they don’t have naturally thick hair or a slim celebrity nose, because they have other qualities about them that make them awesome.

It could be that they’re brilliant at school or that they have a kind heart so, build on their other strengths and teach them that their looks don’t have to be perfect.

Show them how to choose friends wisely

As a teenager, it’s very crucial to choose the right circle of friends to hang out with. They’re at that age where their view of life is being imprinted in their minds and the best decision they can make is to select friends who are loving and supportive.

They should focus on finding friends who don’t belittle them because that’s one major way they can have a strong sense of self-esteem as they mature.

Bring in some extra help

Body image issues can slowly damage someone’s confidence for years or even for life in extreme cases. It comes with feelings of worthlessness and that can affect other areas of life too.

As you do your part in helping your child change their mentality, you can also bring someone who can counsel and guide them as they heal. It could be a relative you trust or just someone you feel can give them the support they need.

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