Helping Your Teen (and Family) Have A Positive Body Image

Body Image Problems for Teenager

In my previous post about body image, I mainly talked about the issues that teen girls face while trying to maintain a positive body image. I wanted to touch briefly on some of the difficulties that boys face, too, and how teen girls and boys can work to overcome their body negativity.

Skinny teenage boy showing body image

A surprising number of boys and men deal with body image problems, and many of them struggle with eating disorders. While girls obsess about being sexy, pretty, or fit, boys struggle with looking masculine or muscular. The role models that a lot of teen boys cling to are superheroes and video game characters.

And if you think supermodels set impossible standards for teen girls, take a really close look at superheroes in comic books or video games. They all look like they’re on steroids.

Whether you have a daughter or a son, both are going to struggle with body image issues. Like I talked about in Part 1 of this blog series, the first step is removing what negative influences you can from your lives.

The second step is learning to respect and love your bodies as they are and questioning our inner negative voice when it tries to interrupt.

Have your teen(or yourself) try this exercise:

Look at yourself in a full length mirror. Focus on the parts about yourself that you don’t like. Then, slowly, widen your focus, and look at all of you, your whole body. If you feel a voice in your mind begin to say negative things about your body, counter with a positive thing. Think about yourself as more than the sum of your parts.

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Helping Your Teen Achieve Positive Body Image

Encourage your them to practice daily affirmations about their body. Looking in the mirror and saying something positive to each body part. Or writing them down in a journal that they use daily.

You can also set up positive body image rules that apply to all discussions within the house, like forbidding any kind of negative language connected with a body part, no matter who it belongs to.

Having a positive body image also means respecting your body and what you do to it. If you start developing a positive body image, one of the side effects is that you’ll start to treat it better. And you’ll be more likely to pick up a piece of fruit than a candy bar.

Because we live in a culture that compels people to look at themselves negatively, we have to take steps to view ourselves positively. It’s not something we can ignore and hope it will turn out okay. You need to take steps to make sure your family’s body image stays positive.

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Debra BeckDebra Beck is a devoted mother, sought-after presenter, author, and has spent over 20 years working with teens and their parents. She’s helped thousands of teen girls develop their self-esteem through her blog, one-on-one mentoring sessions, and mother-daughter retreats.

Her award-winning book My Feet Aren’t Ugly: A Girl’s Guide to Loving Herself was revised and updated for re-release in September 2011 with Beaufort Books.

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