Promoting positive body image in adolescents

A little off topic but still related to Barbados
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Rosemarie Layne
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Joined: Wed Aug 08, 2018 11:18 pm

Promoting positive body image in adolescents

Post by Rosemarie Layne » Fri Aug 10, 2018 4:51 am

Most women who’ve had children find it challenging to get back to their trimmer (more attractive) pre-baby body soon or even long after giving birth. Unless you’re in one of the sporting or more active professions, are extremely disciplined or can afford a dedicated and merciless personal trainer, the going can be quite tough!

This can cause considerable frustration, and you can start to vocalise express negative feelings about how you see yourself and how you feel in your body.

Live by example

Nonetheless, as a parent, if you’re not careful about your own attitudes about food, exercise and body image, it can take a negative toll on your offspring. You ask yourself: how do I foster a healthy body image in my children when I’m while struggling myself? Hmmm …

If you’re having relationship issues – had a divorce or a nasty break-up with someone, you can be a bit harder than you need to on yourself, and be eager to “fix” your perceived imperfections - especially if you have the funds at your disposal for a little cosmetic surgery!

While women (and people in general) internalise cultural values, such as the need to be slim or to have a certain shape (whether it’s Barbie or the current Nicki Manaj trend), what is crucial is how those feelings are expressed, avoiding any negative impact on how your child’s body image.

So be a living example. Remember your children are absorbing everything from you. Don’t be surprised if your eight-year-old daughter suddenly becomes best friends with the mirror, and is fixated with bathroom scale, and asks if she is “too fat”.

Having a positive self esteem and body image is a constant battle for people across the board. Actress Keke Palmer, who struggled to accept her darker skin and “prayed for lighter skin” as a young child says she realised at 13 that she “was beautiful just the way she was”.

She asserts, “I know what it feels like to be left out and to want to be different … As a teenager, you second-guess yourself.” The now more confident 21-year-old, who already has her own talk show, advises, “If you focus more on the inside, you’ll feel just as great about the outside. I feel attractive when I’m doing good and helping people.”

A Blackdoctor.org article notes that young children - girls in particular – are extremely impressionable and susceptible to following in their mothers’ footsteps, so it’s crucial to teach them to be comfortable with their developing bodies. Make sure you tell them they are beautiful inside out, the writer suggests.

It’s also essential to impart to your children that, unlike the ridiculous and unrealistic photo-shopped images the media churns out, healthy bodies come in ALL shapes and sizes. Also, dress size and waistline are not necessarily indicators of happiness, success or health. Let them know they are more than a number on a scale – but blessed with unique innate talents and skills.

Promote a healthy lifestyle

The article cautions that, while body image should ideally begin with affirmations from loved ones, it’s also important to encourage a healthy lifestyle - practising a clean diet, avoiding junk foods and processed products, exercise, and the impact of these on the way our body looks and feels. In other words, let them know THEY are in control. This will foster habits in your children that they will use in later life.

Give positive body images

Many children are visual learners, so, by giving them a picture, you not only reinforce the lesson, but show and reassure them they are not alone.

When one woman’s daughter struggled with embracing her natural hair, she found it useful to show her images of confident women sporting afros. After seeing how versatile hairstyles could be, she grew to love it.

No matter the age, becoming comfortable in your skin often presents a challenge - with age, pregnancy and industry trends often affecting our viewpoint. However, if we do things right, our children can model after us from an early age how to develop a healthy body image.

*Rosemarie Layne is a holder of an Associate Degree in Mass Communication and is a certified Early Childhood Educator. She is also a private language tutor, teaching children and adults.
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sylvie
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Joined: Mon Aug 13, 2018 2:35 pm

Re: Promoting positive body image in adolescents

Post by sylvie » Thu Aug 23, 2018 11:49 am

Very good advice!

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