1. Model what you want to see.
Take the time to take an inventory of your own eating habits, lifestyle choices, and attitude about your body and how you speak about other people’s bodies. There is great power in the words you use about body types, food, and exercise. Taking quiet time, self reflecting, and focusing on developing a better relationship with your own self image.
2. Focus on all the amazing things that your teens body can do.
Refrain from making comments about your teen’s weight or appearance. Instead, focus on how their body is capable of running, walking, laughing, dancing, and the gratitude that is involved with that.
3. Practice unconditional love for your teen.
Your language and attitudes can negatively or positively impact a teen’s self-esteem. Parents and families need to be aware of the power their words and actions can have on their teens. Focus on your teen’s internal attributes, noting their strengths, and reminding them that they are loved as they are.
4. Have frequent discussions about social media.
Educate yourself and them on how social media may present that teens who are thinner are happier. Discuss realistic expectations and limitations of trying to reach an ideal, and beauty tricks that make someone appear “perfect.”
5. Encourage more in-person social interactions.
Decreasing their social media use and replacing it with in-person interactions also helps improve their social and emotional health. Discuss with them how social media is based in fantasy.
6. Work with your teen on creating a list of the qualities you appreciate in your teen.
Spend time in communication and reflection about how grateful you are of your teen’s remarkable qualities that have nothing to do with physical appearance, but instead, their personality, values, and kind heart.
7. Decrease screen time in the home.
Create “screen free” time and space in your home. Keep phone and electronics outside of bedrooms while sleeping. Less social media use helps to improve their self-esteem and emotional health. There is less focus on appearance and vanity.
Resources for Teens & Parents:
• The Body Positive:
This is a nonprofit devoted to helping individuals work toward body positivity. The website includes a number of online resources.
• Health at Every Size:
This site has a list of resources, including blogs, podcasts, and online groups.