How To Raise Your Kid In A Body-Positive Way
Your kid’s confidence could be crushed if they’re not brought up in a body-positive way. In this modern age, TV, magazines, and social media can colour our perception of what’s considered a «normal» body type — which can directly affect our kids’ perception of themselves.
We live in a society plagued by airbrushed images of both men and women. Many people feel that they need to replicate these images to feel valued in society, but trying to achieve this «flawless» look can be near-impossible. This can have a hugely negative impact on overall self-esteem.
Body positivity is crucial in this day and age needs to be instilled into your kids from an early age to help them grow into confident individuals, and avoid any issues that may arise in the future.
In this article, we’re going to discuss body-positivity, why it’s essential, and how you can help your child to become body-positive.
- What Is Body-Positivity & The Movement Behind It?
- Body-Positivity In Modern Children
- How To Raise A Body-Positive Kid
- Body-Positivity Activities
- Your Child’s Body Confidence Matters
What Is Body-Positivity & The Movement Behind It?
What is the definition of body-positivity? It is the state of feeling comfortable within your skin — no matter what you look like, your weight, complexion, etc.
Body positivity is so important, especially for our kids growing up in this digital age. If your child isn’t body confident, it can lead to a variety of issues as they grow up and progress through life.
Having a positive perception of one’s body image can help to remove any barriers to success in many areas of life — including career opportunities, friendships, and relationships.
The body-positive movement has grown massively over the last few years. The introduction of plus-sized models, as well as models with disabilities, has been a big step towards embracing different body types across many cultures.
As the body-positive movement progresses, children will be able to accept themselves for who they are and what they look like, leading to a more positive upbringing that isn’t coloured by the need to look «perfect».
Body-Positivity In Modern Children
The idea of only being accepted in society if your tall and slim, or have defined muscles, is all too common. These stereotypes can lead to kids growing up with complexes about their appearance, which can lead to much worse — including extreme dieting, eating disorders, and taking dieting pills.
Alongside eating disorders, many other issues could arise in your child if you fail to encourage body-positivity early on. Low body confidence can lead to severe depression and anxiety — especially social anxiety.
The social media age is proving to have a negative impact on body confidence. Reports show that 53% of teens are unhappy with their body — growing to a staggering 78% when teens reach 17 years old.
A survey conducted in the UK found that 79% of 11–16-year-olds said that their appearance is important to them, and over 50% worry about their looks regularly.
The downsides of kids using modern technology are evident. Not just for overall mental and physical health, but also how our kids perceive themselves and their peers. This is why you must raise your child in a body-positive manner.
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How To Raise A Body-Positive Kid
Here are some steps you can take to raise your child to be body-positive.
#1 Praise Them For Their Appearance
No matter how your kids look, what they’re wearing, or the time of day, always mention to them how great they look. Although this may seem like an innocent passing comment, it can have a significant impact on how a child grows up and perceives themselves.
From an early age, you must encourage confidence in their appearance. By complimenting them regularly, this will help to solidify their body confidence.
#2 Avoid Saying Negative Comments About Yourself
Kids pick up a lot — if not almost everything — from their parents, including habits, behaviours, views on life, etc. This is why it’s essential to look at your body confidence and the comments you make about yourself.
If you’re continually talking about being overweight or underweight in front of your kids, they will inevitably pick up on this, and could begin to form these negative perceptions of themselves.
#3 Encourage A Healthy Lifestyle Instead Of Avoiding Body Issues
Trying to avoid body issues, for example, suggesting that being overweight needs to be avoided, should be ruled out when you’re trying to bring up your child in a body-positive way.
Instead, you should encourage your child to live and eat healthily. Promote regular exercise and healthy eating, not to lose weight, but to stay healthy. Focusing on the positives (being healthy) will have a much more beneficial impact on your child’s perception of health and life than focusing on avoiding the negatives (being out of shape).
#4 Challenge Negative Self-Beliefs
Whenever you hear your child talk negatively about their appearance — either their facial features, body parts, or weight — you must challenge their view straight away.
Instantly refuting their claims that they’re out of shape or ugly, and ensuring them that they look amazing just as they are, will help to reduce your child’s negative thought patterns regarding their body image.
#5 Call Out Stereotypes
As the media always surround us, 1001 different stereotypes are often depicted on TV, in films, on social media, etc. Whenever you’re watching a TV program or movie with your child, point out obvious stereotypes, such as men and women with perfect bodies.
Explain to your child that these stereotypes aren’t always realistic, and society shouldn’t expect anyone to look like on-screen actors and models.
#6 Look For Signs Of Bullying
Bullying is a huge problem, especially in the age of smartphones and social media. You need to make sure you stay on the lookout for any signs of bullying your child may be experiencing.
One of the best ways to do this is to encourage open conversations about your child’s experience at school and while they’re with their friends — ask what their relationship is like with their friends and if they’re having any issues at school.
Another way to ensure bullies aren’t victimizing your child is to use a parental control app that notifies you if your child is experiencing cyberbullying.
#7 Encourage Your Child To Share Their Concerns
Open communication between you and your child is vital. Be sure to let your child know that they can discuss any concerns they have with you, at any time.
Encouraging conversations about mental and physical wellbeing will enable your child to speak freely about their experience, and if they have concerns regarding their body image — which can be addressed as they arise.
#8 Reduce Social Media Usage
Social media can be a massive catalyst for kids lacking in body confidence. By limiting the amount of time your child spends on social media — or if you allow them to use social media at all — their exposure to perfect, stereotypical images of people will be significantly reduced.
This will help your child not to compare themselves to others, and instead spend time doing things that boost their body confidence.
There are many body-positive activities that you can encourage your child to do that will help them improve their perception of self and their overall confidence.
Positive affirmations are a fantastic way to boost your child’s self-confidence. By getting them to continually reaffirm that their body is perfect and that they are worthy of confidence in their body image.
Affirmations will also help your child to love all that is unique about them — whether it’s facial features, their body type, parts of their body, etc.
Here are a few examples of body-positive affirmations that will help your child to become more confident about their body image:
- «My body is perfect».
- «I love how unique my body type is».
- «I look perfect no matter my body type».
- «I’m loved by my friends and family».
- «I completely accept who I am as a person».
- «Me and my body are worthy».
Positive affirmations can also be used when practicing meditation — another great way to help improve your child’s body confidence. Encourage your child to say each statement aloud daily.
Using a positivity journal can also be a great way to help your child create a healthy image of their body and overall personality.
Get your kid to write 3 things that they love about themselves and their body, each night before they go to bed. Over time, this will help them to reconfigure their perception of themselves — focusing only on the positive aspects of their body and personality instead of the negatives.
Calming the mind and focusing on the positives in life can go a long way to not only improve body confidence by also to improve our lives overall. This is why it’s a good idea to introduce meditation to your child at an early age.
Get your child to practice simple meditation techniques regularly, such as clearing their minds and focusing on being present.
As previously mentioned, positive affirmations can be incorporated into meditation sessions — which will enhance your child’s experience and help to strengthen their body-positive mentality further.
Encourage Sports & Other Activities
Partaking in sports can dramatically boost your child’s confidence, which in turn will help them to feel better about themselves and their bodies.
Encourage your kid to take up a sport or activity that interests them, whether it’s soccer, dancing, outdoor adventure sports, or some form of martial arts — all of which will have a dramatically positive impact on.
Exercise in the form of sport is also an excellent way for your child to keep fit as well as boost their confidence.
Your Child’s Body Confidence Matters
As we’ve discussed, body-positivity is immensely important, especially in this modern age of TV and social media.
Studies are clearly showing the effects our modern society is having on our children, with many kids unhappy about how they look.
Encouraging your kid to become more confident about their appearance and body type is crucial — failing to do so could lead to many different issues such as depression, anxiety, and eating disorders.
Raising your child to become more body-positive is definitely worth it in the long-run. Many of the steps in this article, such as limiting your child’s social media use, praising their appearance, challenging negative self-beliefs, and explaining stereotypes will work to help your child feel right about being in their own skin.
Body-positive activities such as repeating positive affirmations, and keeping a positivity journal, and meditation will all help your child to view themselves and their body positively — boosting their overall confidence.
If you’d like to know more about how different parenting styles will affect your child, check out this blog post here: Parenting Styles: Types of Effective Parenting Explained.