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Many kids form an opinion of their bodies at a very young age. Various research also shows that children can have body image issues even at the tender age of three. Countless things influence the way children see themselves. Therefore, it is a must for parents to play their part in helping children develop a positive body image and self-esteem. The goal is that they should see themselves and feel about themselves positively.
It is relatively challenging for anybody to escape from the shackles of the ideal body image that people promote on social media. Irrespective of how hard you try to protect your children from the toxicity, at some point, they will be exposed to it. It can happen at school, with their friends, or even when they observe other grown-ups in their lives.
Negative body image
Body language is not lost on children, and sometimes, even when you frown a bit at the mirror while wearing clothes, it can have a considerable impact. Small gestures like these can reinforce a message that the body needs to be perfect in a particular way.
Also, that thought is the building block for beliefs like a body has to be perfect, and only an ideal body can make the person happy or earn them acceptance or attention from people. It leads to people not being satisfied with their bodies. But, you have to let your children know that perfection is not defined by the size on a price tag or by a number on the weighing scale.
The truth is that the so-called “perfect body” doesn’t exist. Editors often edit photos of models to make models look thinner and enhance their features. Therefore, it will only disappoint somebody if they try to chase the ideal body. Not only that, but it will also reduce the self-esteem of a person, which can have a significant effect on other aspects of life.
Girls are the ones who associate with a poor body image most of the time, but many boys also face it. They can feel as if their body is not perfect if they are not muscular and if they don’t have a visible six-pack. According to research, underweight boys are at a higher risk of suffering depression than overweight girls.
Girls also suffer adverse effect which includes eating disorders like anorexia, bulimia, and binge eating.
The road to a positive body image
It will be best not to wait until your children get older to guide them about their perspectives on the ideal body image. Therefore, now is the time to change your conversation with them. The way you talk about how your body is will highly influence your child. Here are specific steps that you should take to ensure that your children don’t face issues with body image.
Steps to take
- Instead of talking about fancy diets, try talking about healthy eating.
- Make your children understand that they should exercise to become stronger and to maintain their physical fitness. Physical fitness here refers to high endurance, good cardiovascular health, and high flexibility. The results that people see in their bodies are a by-product of being consistent in their workouts and following a healthy diet. Therefore, the main goal of working out should be to become fit or stronger, not to look a certain way.
- Don’t talk about wanting to improve your body to be more attractive. Instead, talk about working on your body to be ready for every situation that life comes with to you.
- Don’t shy from taking pictures. Instead, take every chance to click a photo with your children.
- Instead of using other methods to measure food, teach your kids to pause and decide when they feel full while eating.
- Don’t talk about the looks. Instead, emphasize more on the inner self. More than looking good, it is about being a nice person from the inside.
- Don’t skip meals, and don’t let your children skip meals. It will help if you talk to your children about the importance of having at least three full meals a day.
- Instead of making all food-related decisions for your child, let them have a say. Let them help while choosing food items at the market, and educate them about good food choices. You should let them know that having variety in food is essential for growth and increasing strength.
- Finally, instead of only eating diet or fat-free foods, include a variety of lean meats, fruits, and veggies.
If you hear your child commenting about how their body is supposed to be, don’t let it go. Instead, you should talk about it and question it. For instance, if your little boy says that his stomach is too big, don’t dismiss it. Instead, ask him why he thinks so. It will initiate an enlightening conversation that will give you the chance to tell him what makes him unique.
After that, you can take the conversation to educate them about having a healthy body. Also, it is essential to make them that healthy bodies are way different than what we see on television. Finally, a parental control tool like Avosmart can always help keep track of your children’s activities online. With Avosmart, you can always make sure that they are not coming under the influence of the wrong people.