For people of all genders, ages, and ethnicities, today's society has an image-driven culture that focuses on unattainable beauty standards. These norms are not only harmful to adults, but they are also harmful to children.
According to Mental Health America, in the last 20 years, the number of youngsters with eating problems has risen considerably. Children as young as 5 years old are dieting, with the highest occurrence among adolescents aged 13 to 18. It's more crucial than ever to teach kids how to value healthy diet and physical activity while still respecting their bodies.
Here are some strategies to help your children establish a positive body image and healthy life habits:
Be a Role Model
Strive to be the role model your children require. Make positive statements about yourself and accept that your flaws are fine. Discuss bodily diversity with your children and why many media representations are unrealistic. If you see that your children are having trouble with their body image, be the sympathetic ear they need.
Change Attitudes About Physical Activity
Instead of focusing on exercise as a means to lose weight or maintain a certain body type, encourage your kids to think about the numerous ways that being active might benefit them. Physical activity, for example, can help your body reach its full potential, enhance your mood and mental state, serve as a social activity or artistic expression, and be a lot of fun.
Address Non-Physical Attributes of Your Child
Teaching your children to think highly of themselves can aid in the development of a healthy self-image that isn't solely based on beauty. Practice describing their excellent qualities and what they are capable of accomplishing or becoming. Are they nice, humorous, brilliant, or talented in some way? Saying affirmations on a daily basis can help your children overcome negative self-talk and gain confidence.
Find Resources that Educate Your Child
Books such as:
are great resources for getting the right education on body resilience.
Teaching your children body positivity and resilience can have a lasting impact on their self-esteem, self-perception and how they interact with an image-driven culture. It's never to late to empower them with the education and tools they need to succeed.