7 Ways to Spot Body Image Issues in Teens
Body image issues can affect all of us, but insecurities often start in young adolescence. It is important to do what we can to help our teens have a secure view of themselves and their bodies.
A healthy body image means being comfortable and satisfied with your body. As we all know, puberty and adolescence are particularly critical life stages when it comes to developing a healthy body image. A teen’s body image is influenced by a range of factors such as puberty, appearance, social media, peers’ pressures, family environment, skills, abilities, and more.
A young person’s body goes through a series of changes that severely affect their body image. At the same time, social pressures to look a certain way become more powerful as a child develops into a teenager. A gap between the ideal picture they strive for and how their bodies look can be a huge source of stress for any teenager.
Unhealthy Body Image Signs
It is normal for teenagers to be conscious of their bodies. Taking care of their diet or wanting to exercise regularly is all right as long as it is for health reasons. However, make sure to explain to your teenager that exercise and healthy food do much more than just a weight loss – they are important for overall wellbeing.
But, if your child focuses too much on his or her body, this could be a red flag that they struggle with body image issues which can lead to anxiety, depression, eating disorders, or other mental health challenges. So, here are the signs to watch for if you’re suspecting that your child might have body image concerns:
- Obsessing about the way they look
- Constantly self-criticizing their body
- Wearing oversized clothes
- Constantly comparing her appearance with others
- Spending too much time in front of the mirror studying his body
- Obsessing about losing weight
- Feeling guilty about enjoying food
How Body Image Affects Teenager’s Mental Health?
An unhealthy body image causes low self-esteem, anxiety, isolation, low mood, and mood swings. Also, negative body image and low self-esteem often lead to the development of eating disorders.
Eating disorders implicate an unhealthy attitude to food, whether it is eating too little (anorexia), eating too much (bulimia), or losing control of eating (binge eating). Studies show that anorexia nervosa has the highest mortality rate of any mental illness among adolescents.
Similarly, feeling low about themselves attracts negativity – a teenager with an unhealthy body image will be more vulnerable to any changes in his appearance or other people’s negative comments, which may trigger feelings of profound loneliness and depression.
How to Promote Positive Body Image?
As a parent, you have an influence on your teenager’s body image. Here’s what you can do to help your child develop a healthy body image.
To help your child develop a positive body image, openly discuss body image and body changes with them. Answer their questions and help address concerns.
Model Healthy Body Image
Be a positive role model and never complain about your body in front of your child. Emphasize the importance of focusing on herself as a whole person.
Offer a Listening Ear
Listen to their comments and complaints and pay attention to your child’s concerns.
Educate Them on Body Changes
Help them learn about body changes that occur during puberty, and explain that is normal to feel confused and anxious.
Discuss Social Media
Talk to your teenager about social media and editing tools that people use when posting pictures to look more beautiful.
Encourage your child to resist the pressure to look the same as their friends or celebrities and teach them to appreciate and love their bodies even if they don’t fit currently popular ideals.