Many parents wonder how exactly they can help their teens to develop and maintain a healthy body image and good self esteem. It can be challenging but there are ways parents can help.Teens' bodies are growing and changing, perhaps making them self-conscious and hyper-aware of every blemish and extra pound. At this age, teens are also being constantly bombarded with idealised, often computer-enhanced, body images they can never measure up to. These messages have the ability to manipulate us all into thinking that we are too fat, too thin, too short or too tall.
However, parents have more influence than teens would care to admit to. As a parent you can use this influence to navigate your teen through this difficult stage of life and towards developing a positive self-image, no matter what their shape or size.
Both Girls and Boys Are Affected
Between glossy fashion magazines, MTV, social media, and popular movies featuring impossibly beautiful actresses, teenage girls can get the impression that fashion models and celebrities have perfect bodies and flawless skin. Many teenage boys will also compare themselves to fit athletes and movie stars they see in magazines and on TV. They may feel that their teenage bodies don’t measure up.
In certain instances, negative body image has been linked with depression, eating disorders, and other risky teen behaviours.
Teenage boys aren't generally as vocal about their body issues as girls are, but that doesn't mean they don’t have body worries. Boys can be bullied or teased for being too thin or for being overweight. Boys can also suffer from eating disorders, though parents and doctors frequently fail to notice the warning signs.If you suspect that your teen may be struggling with low self-esteem or body image issues, what can you do? Here are some simple tips which you may find helpful. If you notice drastic changes in your teen’s weight or eating habits, you should speak to your child’s GP.