A young teen female at odds with her body image runs the risk of suffering nasty mental health problems, the likes of body dysmorphia, and dysfunctional eating. Even after emancipation and gender equality, there is none the less a certain amount of both peer and social pressure for females to appear slim and sexy.
These expectations mean that your teen daughter may well be at risk of never being pleased with the way she looks. These feelings can be further exacerbated if your daughter entertains aspirations of emulating the look of celebs and models. In this brief article, we are going to look at ways that you can help your teen daughter to have positive thoughts about her body and stop her from fretting that she doesn’t measure up to society’s expectations.
Tackling anxiety and depression
Having an adverse body image is commonly associated with certain mental health issues like anxiety and depression. If you are able to assist your teen daughter in dealing with such mental health difficulties that she might be experiencing, she won’t spend so much of her time thinking gloomily about her size and appearance.
Playing your part as a role model
Even as a mom or dad, you can all too easily get obsessed about the changes in your own body. Instead, it is essential that you don’t transmit this to your teen daughter. You need to communicate the fact that you are happy with the way you look, and in this way, your daughter can then learn to love the way she is in the same way that you do.
Talking about looking chubby or overweight in a particular set of clothes, will only encourage your teen to do likewise. Research tells us that teens who have parents that openly criticize their own bodies are more prone to have a bad opinion of their own.
Pressure from social media
Thanks to the hype on social media these days, girls are constantly comparing their bodies not only to their peers, but also to various celebrities whose photos are splashed all over their media streams. It’s important for parents to know the social media effects on teens.
Studies have shown that approximately 33% of teen girls worry more about how they look, having recently been on social media. Many of them say that they’d rather not be tagged in photos that don’t show them off well or that receive a small quantity of likes.
Talking to your teen daughter about the hazards of comparing her own body to those of others on social media is essential. Doing things like talking up your daughter’s strengths and any particular attributes that improve the way she looks will help. It might also be a good idea to limit the amount of time she spends combing through social media, as this could help to improve her own self-esteem and thoughts about the way she looks.
Setting up a fitness regime
When your young daughter is feeling negative about her appearance, you ought to try to convince her about starting an exercise regime. It will help her to spend less time thinking adverse thoughts about her body, as she concentrates more on the positive aspects that regular physical exercise will bring to bear on her body.
Setting and achieving goals helps people to feel more positive about their bodies as levels of fitness rise. Yoga is another type of fitness program that has benefits beyond the physical. It also benefits the mind and helps to nurture positive thoughts about one’s body, its pliability, and its core strength.
Your teen daughter may struggle at first with exercise and the strain it causes her body initially. It is, therefore, a good idea to chat with her about how yoga can work as a stimulus on the mind. You could also suggest exercising with your teen at the same time. It will help her to realize that it’s not just her that needs to work out, but that everybody can benefit from it.
Exercising has to be tackled in a realistic way. If your teen daughter is having difficulty with her weight, despite the fact that she is a good weight for her size and age, she might be trying to do too much to try and meet unattainable goals. You can always talk to your family doctor to discuss a realistic amount of exercise she should be targeting.
Encouraging your daughter to take a more balanced view
It can also prove beneficial to chat to your teen daughter about the negative effects that her role models can exert when they put their physical beauty above other certain important characteristics. You can point out to her that people who do this often overlook other assets, such as having a good work ethic and being intelligent and kind.
Talk to your daughter about the other characteristics she has that make her a better person, and this may help her to take a more balanced view of herself.
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder
There is an old adage that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. What one person may find attractive, another may not. But the more positive attributes your teen daughter can outwardly display, the more likely she is to appear attractive to people in general.
By getting her to focus on the bigger picture when it comes to her personal appearance, she will feel not only happier, but more self-confident too.
Andy Earle is a researcher who studies parent-teen communication and adolescent risk behaviors. He is the co-founder of talkingtoteens.com, ghostwriter at WriteItGreat.com, and host of the Talking to Teens podcast, a free weekly talk show for parents of teenagers.