Today’s youth are bombarded with media messages explaining how they should look when it comes to body shape and form. Then we see that childhood obesity has been on the rise and hasn’t slowed its momentum, however youth are seeing that tall, slim and slender are what is in? How confusing! These mixed messages make it hard for youth to really gain a true sense of healthy body image. How can we help our youth gain a stronger acceptance of self and be show them how to be comfortable in their own skin?
- Be aware of your own self talk. Children mirror their parents – minimize dieting behaviors and weight talk with your children.
- Encourage a wellness lifestyle and discourage dieting and weight-loss fads. If your child wishes to lose weight, encourage her to eat differently, not less.
- Praise your son or daughter for what she does, not for how she looks.
- Give your son or daughter a vision of a greater purpose in life that extends beyond themselves. Encourage healthy interests and passions, volunteer work or a new hobby. Self-esteem is drawn from productivity and contribution.
- Most importantly, spend quality time with your child. Engage in activities that allow creative expression and get them to open up naturally when they are in a fun and carefree setting.