Body Image: Top 5 Conversations to Have with Your Kids in 2011

momparenting

When it comes to body image, the media can have a powerful influence on our developing children. However, what many parents don’t know is that they are the number one role model for their child’s body image and sense of self.

In part one of our series, we discussed tips for talking about drugs and alcohol with your kids. The second top of the top five conversations to have with your kids in 2011 is focused on using communication to instill a positive sense of self in your son and/or daughter.

Tips for Talking About Body Image With Your Kids

As a parent, you hold the power to positively influence how your child views and treats his or her body. Here are some tips for how to address and have a positive impact on this important issue:    

  • Promote strong, healthy bodies: When talking about bodies and food, focus your words on bodies being strong and healthy, not thin or fat, or pretty and unattractive.
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  • Never make comparisons: Don’t verbally make comparisons between your body and a model or actor. Never compare your child’s body to someone else’s.
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  • Look in the mirror: Be mindful of your own words as it relates to your body image. Openly berating yourself for eating a slice of cake or congratulating yourself on a strict diet before a beach vacation will only diminish your efforts to de-emphasize the importance of being thin with your son or daughter.
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  • Encourage your child to be active: Fitness promotes a healthy mind and body and can help one cope with life’s ups and downs. Encourage the whole family to be active together. Ask your child to join you on a walk or bike ride and reinforce how good exercise makes you feel.
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  • Accept insecurities: Prepare your child for the fact that they aren’t going to feel happy and beautiful all the time, but hopefully most days they will feel good about themselves.  Normalize uncomfortable feelings as a part of life that will eventually pass but also reassure them it’s OK to ask for help and support when struggling with emotional challenges.

In the end, strive to act and speak in a way in which you’d feel comfortable with your son or daughter emulating. No one is perfect but you can be instrumental in making your daughter or son feel healthy and happy.

What tips do you follow and recommend for helping kids have a positive body image?

For more parenting tips and tools, please visit http://www.caron.org/parenting-tips-and-tools.html.

Tammy Granger is Caron’s Regional Director of Student Assistance Programs for Caron Treatment Centers. As such, she manages Student Assistance Services in the Northeast region in private and public schools as well as colleges and universities.
Caron’s Student Assistance Program currently reaches more than 60,000 students, teachers and parents annually.
Image courtesy of www.thelearningcommunity.us.


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