The tween and teen years are the time when young girls develop their mindsets about body image. Do I look too fat? Is my hair the right color? Are my clothes in style? It’s up to us to help the young women in our lives adopt healthy behaviors relating to body image.
Teens often struggle with peer pressure to look a certain way or wear figure-revealing clothes. For girls whose bodies are changing rapidly during and after puberty, the pressures to fit in to the group’s image of beauty can be overwhelming and some girls cannot resist the temptation to embrace fad diets or take diet pills. Extreme diets can lead to anorexia, bulimia, or binge eating disorders.
The best way for parents to deal with a child’s weight or body image issues is to be supportive. Being overly concerned with our daughters’ weight or looks will certainly backfire. As parents, we must make sure that we are healthy role models, that is, by serving nutritious food and sticking to an effective exercise program ourselves. If we as parents are constantly on the latest fad diet, that’s what our children will see and adopt as “normal” behavior.
Let’s openly discuss with them the impact of the media image of beauty and make sure that our daughters are not judgmental of themselves or others. By complimenting our children on their accomplishments and personal value decisions, we can blunt the criticism from others about appearance. Keep talking, keep communicating and tell your daughter she’s beautiful.