Body image simply refers to how we feel about our bodies. We should embrace our bodies because hating them won’t turn them into a version we love. As parents, therefore, we need to mind how we discuss the topic with our children.
Society’s perception of what an ideal body should be has created a conformity syndrome, and people who don’t meet the cut for this ideal body may feel deficient. We should shield our children from such far-fetched stereotypes and teach them that no matter their weight or size, they are still beautiful.
To achieve this, here is what you need to keep in mind:
Watch Your Words
Mind your language when talking to your children about your body. If possible, avoid complaining about the body parts you may not like. Children are impressionable, and since you are their role model, they may grow up following in your footsteps.
Scan Their Toys
Media and culture play a major role in creating an impression of what is considered beauty or the best body size. You should therefore mind the toys that you buy for your kids. For instance, buying your kids toys like Barbie dolls may make them have skewed and unrealistic expectations of how a perfect woman’s body should look like.
Chat with your child about some of the unrealistic images they watch on television, in magazines, or on social media. You should particularly be wary of modeling magazines. Most of these magazines photoshop images of their models to make them appear perfect. Also, talk about how some people edit their photos or use filters to look better.
As much as it’s important to point out unrealistic photos, whenever possible, comment positively on other people’s beauty. Beauty has nothing to do with appearance. Beauty comes in all forms, sizes, and colors. Don’t be afraid to flaunt your body in a swimming suit. Also, don’t hide your body behind your wardrobe. You must ooze confidence in your body no matter how it looks.
Fat is Not a Feeling
When your child tells you they feel fat, it should be a red alarm that something is bothering them. Ask them what they mean by “fat”. Don’t take their words literally. Do they have a bully? Are they insecure? Your kid referring to the word fat as a feeling could be their way of hiding negative thoughts or feelings. Try to help them gain confidence in themselves.
Talk About Nutrition & Calories
Teach your child that there is no such thing as good or bad food from a young age. Drawing too much attention to the types of food that your children consume may create a bad perception. Avoid introducing them to a restrictive diet and instead teach them about different food groups. Make them understand that even food high in calories and low on nutrition still has a place in their diet.
Dealing With Weight
if you are worried that your child is overweight and you feel that the excess weight is holding them back, increase the number of physical activities they perform and offer them a variety of foods. Never comment on their body or criticize their appearance. Shift all the conversation from their body and try conversing with them on other topics so as to avoid making them feel conscious about their body.
Call Out Others
Don’t allow friends or family to engage in body-shaming in any way. Call them out for unacceptable behavior for what it is, no matter how close you are to them.