Children begin to notice and pay attention to their bodies as early as age five. How they feel about themselves and how others perceive them, both play an important role in their developing self-esteem.
Body image is defined as how a person perceives their body and physical appearance. Helping your child develop a positive body image will go a long way in helping them develop a positive sense of self.
Here’s what you need to know.
1. How your child sees, feels, thinks about their body and how they behave as a result of these feelings are the key aspects you need to understand.
2. Your child likely has a positive body image when they are satisfied and comfortable with their looks.
3. If they are unhappy and critical of some aspects of their body, they may have a negative body image.
4. Pop culture, media, fashion trends, advertising and peers (to name a few), play an important role in how children perceive/compare themselves.
5. Social media can affect a person’s body image. It can drive people to showcase a manufactured (software edited) or filtered version of themselves online.
6. A negative body image is emblematic of your child’s self-esteem. A low sense of self may lead to anxiety, depression, eating disorders and/or attempts at making changes to how they look.
7. Talk to your children about the changes they will experience during puberty. Spend time listening and make a habit of asking them how their feel about their body.
8. Pay close attention and look out for the signs. If your child is critical of their appearance; feels guilty; obsessively looks in the mirror (or smartphone); compares their looks to others, you may need to intervene.
9. Educate and talk to them about the unhealthy behaviors that can result the unrealistic standard of beauty in popular media.
10. Give your child positive assurances that appreciate them as a whole. Tech them to respect others irrespective of their appearances.
11. Remember to check-in and talk to your child about mental health, emotional well-being and cultivating positive habits.
Our guide outlines the facts based on research from several online and offline resources. If you are in doubt or worried about your child for any reason, consult with a qualified and certified mental health professional or medical doctor.
Reviewed by: Jason Eric Ross, PhD, LMHC
Date reviewed: 29th December, 2018