Body positivity is something that is talked about a lot, and it is important to realize that beauty is subjective, and loving yourself for how you are is how it should be. However, the reality is that not everyone feels that confident about their looks, and most people don’t like at least one thing about their physical appearance. Despite there being more of an open discussion about unattainable beauty standards in the media and trying to move towards a more inclusive ideal, there are still a lot of issues regarding this subject. In a world where almost everybody has social media, and there is a filter for every photo posted, it is still easy for people to start feeling bad about their bodies when looking at people who appear to be perfect.
While everyone can be susceptible to feeling negative about their body image, teenagers, in particular, are a vulnerable group. If you’re a parent or guardian, here are some things to look out for in your teenagers to see if they might be struggling with their body image and tips on how you can help.
Signs That Your Teenager Might Have a Negative Body Image
It is understandable why teenagers might struggle with their body image at times. After all, this is a transitional period in their life, and their body does change a lot during this period as they move into maturity. They might feel self-conscious about things like acne, body hair, and other typical things that they will experience as they go through this change, and that is all relatively normal. However, if your teenager is consistently putting themselves down because they don’t like their looks, this can be early signs of negative body image.
Other signs that your teenager is suffering from poor body image is if they are avoiding social events or other activities they used to like because they feel self-conscious. Things like swimming where their bodies will have to be on display more than usual could be a particularly difficult activity for them to take part in, for example. They might also be regularly comparing their looks to other people or perhaps even talking about getting surgeries or going on diets to try and ‘improve’ their appearance.
How Can You Encourage a Healthy Body Image?
It isn’t always easy to change someone’s perception of themselves, but there are things you can do to try and help turn things around. Avoid making comments about their appearance if you can as this isn’t always helpful, instead try to focus on other characteristics about them and speak positively about their sense of humor, their kindness, and praise them when they have achieved something positive at school. You should also be mindful about how you talk about your appearance and be positive about your body image to set a better example of how they can love themselves just how they are.
If you’re worried that your teen has developed a significant issue with their body image, and this is leading to harmful behaviors, you should seek professional help. Teenage rehab centers can help young adults with body image issues, and a variety of other issues, and this kind of support might be necessary to help your teenager overcome their problems with body image.
In an ideal world, everyone would feel comfortable and happy with their looks. However, this sadly isn’t the reality, and those who are struggling with feeling positive about their body image need love and support to change that.