It is becoming more important to promote a positive body image among both girls and boys, given the exposure they have to the media and the messages they are receiving about how they should look to be accepted and admired by others.
It is a subject which I cover in my conferences for girls and for some it is a shock to see just how clever Photoshop can be. I always show a video of a girl starting off being one shape and natural looking to having full on make-up and a body that does not resemble what it started off as. Seeing images change before their eyes really hits home that these women have not just breezed into a studio looking like that.
We need to help all children feel body confident and good about what they look like especially through puberty when they may not like the changes they see. Parents can play a big part in encouraging body confidence from a young age.
6 key ways to promote body confidence in children
1. Focusing less on body image and more on what their body can do. For example, we can get them to use their body in an activity they enjoy doing and get them to appreciate their agility/strength.
2. We can chat about what they see in magazines and highlight the work that goes into the photos. We can also talk to them about the different body shapes their friends have and what they think is a healthy body shape and type.
3. We can allow them to choose what they want to wear and if they want our help in finding the right clothes for them, give it. We don’t want to be telling them that they cannot wear something if it makes them feel good.
4. We can use positive words about what we like about our own body in our clothes or how our hair or skin looks.
5. We can be there for our children when they ask questions about their body and their bodies are changing.
6. Finally, we can encourage them to talk positively about what they see in the mirror and understand that bodies constantly change as they grow.
As with all things, children model our behaviour so look at your own attitudes to body shape, appearance, diet and fitness. Don’t undo your positive steps to help them by not applying these principles to yourself!
I’d love to hear from you. Is your child effected by body confidence issues and if so, what age do you think this starts to kick in? What do you do to try and make them feel better about themselves?