How to Help Your Teen Grow Up With a Healthy Self Image

Teen boys and girls are susceptible to poor body image.  As a parent, you can help your teenager develop a positive attitude about themselves.  This will help them to avoid depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, eating disorders, and a host of other problems that are common among teenagers.


Set an Example


Children develop their sense of self by listening and observing those around them.  If a parent continually obsesses about their own weight or looks, the child will more than likely begin to excessively think about such things as well.  If your teenager hears adults constantly talking about other people’s weight or appearance in a negative way, they will continually reevaluate the image they have of themselves.


A healthy body image means acceptance. Appreciate your own body and they will learn to appreciate theirs.  Talk about what their body can do, such as climb a mountain or play a guitar, instead of how it looks.

Put Healthy Food on the Table


Make sure that you have appealing, yet nutritious food in your home.  In this way, your teen will stay healthy while satisfying their hunger.  A healthy diet will help your teenager feel better about themselves as they stay fit.  Studies have proven that a healthy diet also promotes better mental health.  In the long run, this will allow your child to feel more confident, and they will be less susceptible to depression and other issues.


Encourage Positive Thoughts


While it is important to provide positive reinforcement to your child on a regular basis, it is also important to encourage self-respect.  Don’t allow your child to talk poorly about themselves or others.  Their body image will benefit from positive thoughts.  On that note, be sure to give compliments on both their actions and their appearance equally.


Monitor Media Exposure


Television shows, movies and magazines are full of images that often give teenagers a poor sense of body image.  Limit the amount of media your child is exposed to.  Do not bring magazines into your home that portray unrealistic body images.  While it is nearly impossible to keep teenagers away from television and movies, if they have an understanding of why such images are unreasonable, they will not be so harsh on themselves.


Help Your Teenager Understand What Is Truly Important in Life


By showing sincere interest in your teenager’s hobbies, they will be more apt to stick with them.  Whether your child is an athlete, artist, musician, scholar, or is developing skills in any other field, encourage them with praise.  Let them know that their true self lies in how they relate to life.


At the same time, it is important to be reasonable.  A teenage boy or girl will place at least some importance on body image and appearance, as most of us do.  You can help them feel comfortable with themselves by encouraging proper exercise and good eating habits.  You will have to be prepared to take on such practices yourself.  As long as you are a good role model and provide consistent positive reinforcement, your teenager will make the transition from child to adult with greater ease. 


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