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Building Body Positivity: Fostering Healthy Body Image in Adolescents

As a parent, your primary goal is to make sure your children are healthy and happy.

Growing up comes with different developmental milestones, as well as challenges that they must learn and overcome. You’ve guided them as they were growing up, but now that the teenage years have hit, you realize you can’t help them as much as you would like.

As a teen, they have to deal with things they haven’t experienced before. They’re turning into their own person. They have outside influences. They’re having to navigate making friends, bullying, and bodily changes. 

Some of these changes come with uncertainty and a lack of self-esteem. You want to make sure your teen appreciates themselves for who they are, from the outside in.

This is how to build body positivity and foster healthy body image in adolescents.

Be Mindful of How You Talk to Yourself

As a parent, your children pick up on your words and actions. When your children were younger, you may have even noticed that they started to role-play and act like you and your partner. Your kids are always watching you, even when you may not even realize it.

Because of this, you have to be mindful of your words and actions. And we don’t just mean cussing. You have to be mindful of how you talk to yourself and others. If your children start to pick up on you criticizing your shape or weight, they may feel obligated to do the same. In addition to your own body, make sure you’re not criticizing or commenting on others’ bodies, especially in front of your children. They may start to second-guess their own appearance based on your comments.

Promote Healthy Eating Habits

One of the best ways to foster not only a healthy body image but also a healthy lifestyle with your children is to promote a healthy and well-balanced diet. Make your weekly shopping trip to the grocery store a fun activity that you do today.

You can plan out the grocery list, shop together, and maybe even do some meal prepping together. Talk to your children about the benefits of the food that you’re cooking. Don’t categorize food as good or bad. Instead, talk about the nutritional information and how it can fuel their body.

photo of a teenage girl standing on an empty road smiling at cameraIncorporate Movement into Your Day

Physical exercise is one of the best ways to promote health and wellness from the inside out. Not only is it good for your body, but it’s also great for your mind and overall mental health and wellness. Encourage your children to go on walks with you around your neighborhood or to sign up for a team sport with their friends.

Monitor Messages from the Media

The media is filled with constant messaging showcasing a certain look or body type as the most attractive. This can harm young children and the relationships they have with their own bodies, including their self-esteem.

Try to have a conversation with your child about what they’re seeing on TV shows, in movies, on social media, or in magazines. Limit their exposure to these types of messages and content. You can also talk with your children about what’s being shown in these media messages and show them role models of all shapes, sizes, and backgrounds that they can look up to.

Seek Additional Support

In today’s world, it can be even harder to grow up and try to manage the mixed messages that the media is spinning. It’s so important when your children are growing up to instill a positive body image so that they grow up feeling comfortable and confident in their own skin. If you suspect that your child is having a hard time navigating this time in their life, we’re here to help. Reach out to us today to set up a consultation for therapy for teens.