All of us as parents want to raise our children to be girls who are confident, respectful, and develop positive self-image about themselves. The positive self-image leads to high self-esteem, supporting your child’s mental health very well because it has a role in helping to reduce anxiety, better ability to overcome negative emotions, be stronger in the face of adversity and can build stronger external relationships.

Unfortunately, however, for girls, self-esteem is often tied to their self-body image. Our cultures tend to judge women by their looks, rather than their achievements or successes.

The article below will help you have a conversation and educate your child so that he or she does not feel inferior and can develop, appreciate a positive self-image.

What is self-image?

Body image is shaped by socio-cultural values, role models and social comparisons. This means that family, friends and the media are important influencers in your child’s self-image.

  • Socio-cultural: The link between appearance and self-image for girls, especially in Western society, is a slim, young, and beautiful body – which are valuable attributes of girls. Women’s and girls’ bodies come in all shapes and sizes, but only 5-10% of women have the same height and weight as models, but this is considered an attractive and ideal body type.

slim is considered attractive

  • Media: Actresses your kids see on TV, celebrities in magazines, and models in advertisements all describe and promote having an ideal slim body. As a result, young, beautiful women are described as successful and famous. Physical attraction becomes synonymous with one person’s value.
  • Impact of social networks: Social networks like Facebook and photo social networks like Instagram have resulted in a significant increase in the ability to compare their body with the body of others as well as a significant increase in self-esteem.

With the vast majority of teenagers using social media today, not only do girls compare themselves to their peers’ body images, but they also compare themselves to Instagram models – people who use filters, image editing tools, and other digital enhancements to make them as perfect as possible.

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When your children are influenced by the standards of beauty through the images they watch on television and social networks, they can wrongly regard that these standards are important to be accepted in society, thereby creating greater dissatisfaction with the child’s own body.

As a result, your child may begin to hate their body, have unhealthy attitudes about food, diet excessively, suffer from an eating disorder, feel useless, harm themselves (teen cutting), avoid going to places where they may be judged for their physical appearances such as beaches, swimming pools, or developing mental health disorders such as anxiety or depression.

positive self-esteem

Puberty with rapid changes in hormonal, emotional and physical development – is a particularly difficult time due to changes in the development of girls’ bodies. At this time, your child is easily influenced by the outside, she will become extremely sensitive about her body because it is markedly different from the bodies on film.

During puberty, your baby will undergo physiological changes, so they will become more curious about issues related to gender. Therefore, at this age, children often secretly watch pornography because they are curious to learn or being drawn from their friends.

Actors in porn movies often have slim bodies and are very attractive, which makes it even more impossible for your child to stop comparing herself to others. Research shows that pornography negatively affects the perception of body image.

develop positive self image and self esteem

You should have regular and informal conversations to explain the natural changes that occur during puberty, help your child accept his or her body and reduce the pressure to look like a body image introduced in the media.

As for porn movies, you can install online content filtering software to ensure that your child does not have access to this type of malicious content, further reducing the risk of your child comparing his body to “unrealistic” beauties on porn movies.

While self body image has long been a concern for teenagers and teenage girls, research has shown that girls as young as six are aware of their looks and express a desire to lose weight. A US study found that one in four children did some sort of dietary behavior before the age of 7.

low self esteem at children

10 tips to help kids develop a positive body image

Things you shouldn’t do

  • Don’t over-focus on your child’s appearance or make fun of them about how they look.
  • Don’t talk about your own body in a negative way or focus on what you eat. Refrain from commenting on negative foods like “This is extremely bad” or “This is good for weight loss”, instead discuss a healthy diet or proper weight management.
  • Don’t comment on how everyone looks, even when your child is not around.

Things to do

positive body image

  • Encourage your child to participate in exciting exercises or team sports. Exercise can improve self-esteem, help children have a sense of ownership, improve their physical strength and make them develop a positive self-image.
  • Help your child choose healthy eating and appropriate exercise methods and help them practice that habit as part of life.
  • Prepare your baby for the physical changes during puberty. Explain what might happen and answer your child’s questions.
  • Be a role model for your children and show a healthy attitude toward body image, accepting and appreciating people no matter what they look like.
  • Be critical when looking at images on social media or television. Explain to your child that images have been altered, filtered, or used photo editing software to increase their look and appeal and that they are not actual or ideal representations to be desired.

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