Teaching Positive Body Image to our Children
Body image is how and what you think and feel about your body. A child’s body image can be influenced by many factors which may include: family environment, parenteral messages, the attitudes of peers, social media, cultural background and more.
Children need support in order to sort through all the conflicting messages about their bodies, particularly during puberty. Without appropriate guidance and support, children can be more vulnerable to eating disorders in the future.
Let your child know that healthy eating and physical activity aren’t just for weight loss – they’re vital for physical health, now and in the future.
Here are some ways to be a positive role model:
- Make healthy eating and physical activity part of your everyday family life
- Talk with your child about social media images that tend to set unrealistic ideals for children.
- Actively listen to your child talk about their own positive or negative feelings about their body
- Focus on your child as a whole person, rather than their shape, size, and appearance
- Avoid fad diets, weight loss gimmics, or diet pills
- Accept and value people no matter how they look and avoid making comments on others’ appearance/body size
- Appreciate your own body for what it can do, not just how it looks, focus on your health and strength.
To summarize, Adults are powerful influencers in the lives of children. It is important to be mindful that children are always watching us. Remember to model body positively and healthy eating habits in front of children that will help them learn to love their own bodies.
Kirsten Book, PMHNP-BC
I support the patient to help them feel empowered in their own recovery.