How to tackle bad body image and boost your child’s confidence
The internet is great for so many things – end-of-season sales, pictures of cats, Pinterest – but it can also play a huge part in your child’s confidence levels. Apps like Snapchat, Instagram and Facebook could be causing them to make comparisons between themselves and (often distorted) versions of other people’s bodies.
So it’s worth checking in every so often and reminding them that everybody is different, everybody has their own quirks to be celebrated and pretty much everybody either filters or alters their pictures (hello celebs).
But if you are worried about your child’s self-esteem, read on for some tips to boost their confidence. Heck, maybe even take some of your own advice, we can all be guilty of bad body image sometimes!
Be their personal cheerleader
Puberty sparks a whirlwind of changes, so it’s no wonder your child is feeling a little insecure. It probably also doesn’t help that their friends are developing at different times so they are bound to compare – not only to the photos they see on social media, but to each other.
If they have even the smallest negative thought about themselves, hearing a throwaway remark about it can amplify the problem. It helps to encourage them to ignore it and forget about it (although much easier said than done), whilst also encouraging them to remember all the good parts about themselves. Positive vibes only!
Start with high self-esteem
One of the most important lessons you can teach your child from day dot is self love. Why? Because when self-esteem is low, we tend to see ourselves and our lives in a negative and critical light. We also feel less able to take on the challenges that life throws at us.
Clearly we don’t want our children experiencing this – if this feeling lingers for too long, it can lead to problems such as depression and anxiety. So help them find their inner strength. Get your child to recognise what they enjoy (it could be sport, arts and crafts, science – anything!) then encourage them to spend time doing what they love.
Don’t let them develop bad habits
Studies carried out by researchers from the University College of London Institute of Child Health found that 18% of girls and 3% of boys aged 14 felt a lot of pressure from the media to lose weight.
That pressure, in turn, can cause bad habits and poor relationships with food as they grow and develop. Make sure that your child is eating a healthy, balanced diet – you could even encourage them to help you cook dinner. You never know, you might have the next Junior Masterchef under your roof!
Positive relationships are key
If people are bringing your child’s mood down, they probably don’t have their best interests at heart. Remind them that they should surround themselves with positive friends who make them feel loved, appreciated and safe. Children need to learn how to be kind to themselves as well as others so encourage them to respect their own needs as well as others. They’re *so* worth it.
Remind them they’re not alone
Sure, they might think that school is brutal, but their idols feel exactly the same as they do. Celebrities and supermodels aren’t safe from body-shaming either. The paparazzi have a field day highlighting what they believe is a ‘bad bit’ (pffft) and whether they’re deemed too fat; too thin; too tall; too short; too muscly; too curvy, it’s all just so darn negative. Instead, direct them to betty.me where they can learn *all* about body confidence and see how their fave celebs shut down people that body shame them.