Teenage years could be described as one of the hardest phases in our lives. It’s the phase where the pressure comes from both sides, internally and externally. Internally, as you are still in the self-discovery phase and there are so many questions and struggles inside, as you are physically changing. And outside there is the society, peer and parental pressures. Among all this, your child’s image about themselves is one of the crucial things that might help them get through this phase safely and it includes body image.
For us women, this image formulates from a much younger age, it’s influenced by the standards that exist in our society. In the media mainly, or what our parents tell us about our bodies or our peers. We grow up thinking either we have a good body that we are satisfied with or a bad one that we are ashamed of. The first is called a positive body image while the last is a negative body image.
Having a negative body image is a very bad thing to grow up with, it lowers self-confidence and self-esteem leading to so many problems in all life aspects including career, relationships, and mental and physical health. So, our duty towards young girls is to guide them and help them develop a positive body image. For your teenage daughter, here are tips to help boost her body image.
1. Always tell her how good her body is
Point out the best things about her body and how to love it and embrace it and keep it healthy by maintaining a balanced lifestyle. There is nothing like support and positive talk that makes a girl feel strong, powerful and confident about herself. This way she will feel that she can accomplish anything and not feel ashamed of her own body.
2. Eliminate the idea of perfection
Emphasize the idea that a perfect body doesn’t exist. Beauty comes in all sizes and shapes and we should all embrace and love our unique bodies. This obsession is the number one reason behind all the dissatisfaction and resentment teenage girls have towards their body. This obsession is due to the misrepresentation of females in the media. If you succeed in raising a young individual who understands that this is just an image that the media created and that real life women are different and diverse, then you have done her a great favor. She will become a well-informed woman who doesn’t feel bad just because she’s not identical to the media’s standards.
3. Show her good examples
This is one of the most important things you can do to actually make her believe in herself because nothing makes the person feel relieved or better than to know that there are people out there who share their struggles and have managed to overcome them. Let her know about bloggers, models and public figures who support positive body image; plus size, underweight, or even with vitiligo. Show her how those successful people embraced their bodies and it didn’t stop them from achieving or being who they want to be. Let her listen to their inspiring talks, it will benefit her a lot and will make a huge difference in your her life and inspire her to have dreams and widen her thought and horizon which is exactly what she needs as a teenager.
4. Help her look her best
Help understand her body type and teach her to read more about what to dress and how to use fashion hacks and tips to look and feel her best. The important message that you will be conveying is that she doesn’t have to hide her body. Instead, she should dress whatever she fancies and what suits her body type. Always support her to dress in all colors and never hold back or skip the beach or prom. And let her know that she could find her own unique style in fashion and not necessarily follow guidelines all the time.
5. Don’t let her fall back
This is super important and I know you can relate, a negative body could lead to depression and that’s the last thing you want your daughter to experience in such a critical phase. The negative image she has about her body could be the reason why she is hiding and doesn’t want to go out and do the same activities that someone her age might be doing. Your role is to let her know and see that just because she might look different, doesn’t mean she can’t still do the same things. Let her participate in many activities like any sport she likes, social activities, music classes. Teach her to never give up on having fun no matter what.
6. Tell her about eating disorders
Your daughter has to be well informed since it’s the age of information we live in. Always Talk to your daughter about the different types of eating disorders. This will teach her so much about health and self-care, and even if she’s not be struggling with an eating disorder it’s best to keep her educated and ready for everything. As a mother, you should monitor her eating habits and if she ever starts experiencing any symptoms, taking her to a professional doctor is the right thing to do. If your daughter ever struggles with an eating disorder your approach will be focused on the psychological aspect under professional medical since it’s all in the brain, not the just body.
7. Cut back on her social media hours
Social media has changed life as we know it forever. Our lifestyle is not the same anymore. Although social media has so many benefits it can have a downside as well. Instagram, in particular, is not a platform where teenage girls should spend a lot of time on. Instagram being a visual platform makes people feel that they are inferior or less than others when they see them achieving more.
8. Talk to her about peer pressure
Peer pressure is the main reason your daughter may have a negative body image. Let’s face it, we’ve all been there. However, as a mother, you can’t eliminate peer pressure but you can make your daughter feel strong and brave enough to not be affected by this kind of pressure. Show her that her friends' opinions should not dictate how she thinks about her body or live her life and teach her to stand up for herself and others when they’re being bullied. This way you will give her immunity against the worst kind of pressure that she might face in all phases of her life.
9. Teach her about self-expression
Your daughter has so much going on in her brain, so many thoughts and ideas and emotions that need to be expressed. Your job is simple but crucial, simply push her to express herself in whatever way she feels comfortable in. Whether start her own journal or blog, maybe write poetry, draw or dance. She has to have a way to express herself and her thoughts which can make a huge difference in her life. This will guarantee that she will mature emotionally and become a better and calmer individual.
10. Help her find her inner beauty
It’s basically where so many parents go wrong. As a mother, your most essential job is to help your children unravel and discover who they really are and embracing them. For teenage girls, they need to know by heart that beauty is not what lies on the outside but on the inside and that they have so many good qualities in their personality that they might not be paying attention to. Help your daughter as much as you can to see that she is unique and special and hold on to it because it will give her so much inner strength and self-love.
Main Image Credits: Lady Bird Movie via IMDb