“I’m so chubby.” “I am unattractive.” Words like this could be distressing to hear from a ten-year-old or a teenager, but they could be particularly painful when said by children as young as preschool or kindergarten age.
According to several studies, children as young as 3 to 5 years old could begin to worry about their weight and physical appearance, and many young children express dissatisfaction with their bodies.
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What Is Body Image, Exactly?
The way you feel about your body is your body image. Children with a positive body image are confident in their appearance. They like the way they appear, the way their bodies move and grow, and the things their bodies can accomplish. A children’s body image is an element of their overall self-image.
Having a positive body image might help children feel more confident. It boosts their self-confidence. Children who have a negative body image are unhappy with their bodies and appearance. A children’s self-esteem might be harmed by a negative body image. It has the potential to decrease one’s self-esteem.
A positive body image develops over time. It all starts when you’re a baby. It gets stronger as the children’s get older. When children reach puberty, things change. What people say has an impact on it. Parents may assist their children in developing a positive body image at any age.
Body Image in Toddlers and Babies
Babies and toddlers appear to be at ease in their own skin. They like kicking their feet and twirling their toes. They like squirming and moving their body. When toddlers can stand and walk, they are proud of themselves for being able to accomplish things “all by themselves.”
When parents do the following, they help infants and toddlers feel good about their bodies:
- give tender care and cuddling
- play in ways that let babies move their bodies
- play in ways that let toddlers use new skills
- show how proud they feel
- give plenty of smiles and praise
Growing Children’s Body Image
As children get older, they might develop positive attitudes about their bodies. It manifests itself at times. When you tell them how tall they’ve grown, they beam with pride. In the mirror, they smile at themselves. They like how they appear in a new haircut or a favorite dress. They want you to keep an eye on how quickly they can run. Alternatively, watch what they can accomplish on a skateboard.
Children may compare themselves to other children as they get older. They want to be pleased with their appearance. They want to be able to accomplish the same things as other children. It improves their body image when they feel good about how they look.
Parents may assist their children develop a positive body image by:
teach them about their bodies and how to take care of them compliment them on their appearance let them show you what they can do and show them you’re proud of what they can do be active with them and have them be active every day
Puberty and Beyond: Body Image
As a child reaches puberty, his or her body changes. It’s possible that their feelings about their bodies will alter as well. Some children like the opportunity to dress up as an older sibling. Others are self-conscious about their changing bodies. It might take some time to adjust to a body that is different in appearance and feel.
Everyone’s puberty does not occur at the same time. Some children mature at a young age. It’s possible that they’ll feel uneasy at first. They may also be pleased with themselves for appearing more mature. Some children reach puberty later than others. Some people are OK with it, while others are eager to see their pals.
When females reach puberty, it’s natural for them to gain a little body fat. However, some females are concerned about their weight as a result of this.
Preteens and teenagers could be quite concerned about their appearance. They could experiment with different appearances and trends. They may dress to blend in or to make a statement.
They may place an excessive amount of emphasis on the aspects of their appearance that they dislike. Boys may want for increased muscular mass. Some girls wish they had more curves, while others wish they had fewer curves. A teen’s body image might be harmed by excessive self-criticism.
Parents Can Help Develop Positive Body Image
- compliment them on their appearance
- enabling them to experiment with different appearances and styles
- Avoid making judgments about a teen’s appearance.
- Ensure that teenagers receive enough sleep and consume a nutritious diet, and that they engage in physical activity on a daily basis.
Is Teasing Harmful to a Child’s Body Image?
Some children are ridiculed, harassed, or embarrassed because of their physique or appearance. This can cause a great deal of distress in children. It may damage their self-esteem and body image.
If this occurs, parents can take the following steps:
- assist their child heal from the painful feelings and humiliation caused by the taunting or bullying
- This could be accomplished by conversing with and listening to their child. They can seek additional assistance for their child from a counsellor or therapist if necessary. Even if a children’s body image has been damaged, it can improve.
Can a Kid’s Body Image Be Affected by a Medical Condition?
Some medical problems hinder children from performing things that other children can. Some have an impact on how a child appears, moves, or grows, as well as their ability to be active.
However, just because a child has a health problem doesn’t imply he or she can’t have a positive body image. Accepting, loving, and caring for your body leads to a positive body image. Even though there are things that children cannot do, they could be proud of what they can.
What Can Parents D
Remember to set a positive example for others when it comes to body image. Every day, get some exercise. Maintain a balanced diet. Positively talk about your own physique. Accept your own body and treat it with respect. This will be picked up on by children, who will then do the same for themselves.
How To Teach Body Positivity When You Struggle With It Too
How can I instil confidence in them if I don’t have it myself? Without a question, this is a path of self-love, but it must begin somewhere. Changing our attitudes toward our bodies, particularly how we speak to ourselves in our minds and when others could be listening, must be done with love and kindness rather than anger, contempt, or comparison.
So, let’s get down to business. How are we going to do it? How can we teach our girls and boys to love their bodies by loving ours?
Focus On The Good
Find something you enjoy about your physique and emphasize it instead of focusing on all the things you don’t like about it. For example, while I am self-conscious about many things, I enjoy my hair. I have naturally beachy-wavy hair, and I feel more beautiful and pulled together when I wear it down and curly. I also appreciate how muscular my arms and shoulders are, and I need to do a better job of displaying them since they are a feature of my physique that I am proud of.
What qualities do you admire in yourself? What are your favorite aspects of yourself that make you feel good? Begin by concentrating on one or two characteristics that you admire about yourself, then work your way up from there.
Have you had a beautiful grin, hair, arms, legs, and back? What gives you self-assurance, and how can you accentuate that portion of your body or those places to make yourself feel better? You adore your smile, so go out and purchase a new lipstick to flaunt it! You’re proud of your legs, so wear a new skirt or dress that shows them off!
It’s also crucial to teach your children what their bodies can accomplish for them and how to be proud of them as you develop your own body confidence. When my kid turns cartwheels around the yard and makes it across the monkey bars by herself, I tell her that her legs and arms are powerful and strong.
Check Your Tone
You believe the things you say to yourself, whether they are spoken out or silently to yourself. Stop talking to yourself in negative terms like fat, ugly, large, pudgy, lumpy, unattractive, muffin top. These words damage you because the more you repeat them, the more you believe them and they become you. You are so much more than the stories you tell yourself.
See also: What To Do If You Don’t Like Your Kids
It’s time to stop focusing on the negative words and start speaking in a more optimistic tone! You are intelligent, strong, attractive, creative, fit, healthy, kind, and compassionate.
What are your advantages? What is it about you that your friends and family adore? What do others say about you? Make a list of five things to tell yourself every day. Every day, repeat them and look for new positive traits and attributes.
Instead of pointing out physical qualities in your children, focus on their hearts, brains, and good and encouraging attributes. Teach them that the way you and others view them is based on more than just their physical appearance and that their physical appearance is secondary to what’s inside of them and who they are.
Treat Your Body Well
The best way I know to instil body confidence in my kid is to take care of and appreciate my own body. I accomplish this by eating nutritious things in front of kids and exercising on a daily basis. I take the kids grocery shopping and to the farmer’s market with me, and I ask for their assistance in selecting fruits and vegetables and making basic meals so they may participate in the preparation of nutritious dinners.
I take the kids to the gym with me on occasion, and they are aware that I enjoy working out and that it makes me feel good. On other days, we simply go on walks or bike rides and chat about how to take care of our bodies. They now even request walks since they like the exercise and fresh air!
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Let’s face it: the pictures we see in the media, in magazines, on television, in movies, and even on social media aren’t representative of real life. Models and actresses have personal trainers, nutritionists, and a slew of other people on their payroll that regular people don’t. They don’t live in our society; their job is to be stick thin, get facials once a week, work out for three hours every day, and be ready for swimsuit season all year.
See also: Bad Habits Moms Need To Break Today
Teaching Kids Body Positivity
As usual, the greatest approach to encourage body positivity is to model it for our children. When discussing other people’s physical sizes, avoid using derogatory words, and abstain from making derogatory remarks about your own body.
Talk to your kids about how magnificent their bodies are and how important it is to focus on their abilities rather than their limits or appearance. Teach children that their bodies are theirs to do with as they want and that their self-worth is unaffected by their size or form.
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“GENTLE PARENTING IS A LIFESTYLE THAT EMBRACES BOTH YOUR PHYSICAL AND PSYCHOLOGICAL BEHAVIOR, NOT ONLY TOWARDS YOUR CHILDREN, BUT TO YOURSELF TOO“— SARA HOCKWELL-SMITH