When I read the article, “Kids Are Unhappy With Their Bodies as Young as Age 8,” my heart skipped a beat. A child’s only worries should be doing well in school and playing outside. Self-shaming shouldn’t be a part of a child’s reality. But that’s what many children deal with on a daily basis.
A recent U.K. study published in The British Journal of Psychiatry, followed about 6,000 children until they were 14 years old. In following these children, they discovered a pattern of poor body image at a young age, which ultimately led to eating disorder behaviors later on.
There were a number of statistics that were a part of the study including the following one:
When the children reached age 14, 39% of the girls said they had dieted in the last year and 8% said they had binged.
Instead of focusing on the study, let’s focus on results. It’s important to ask ourselves what we can do to reverse this trajectory and instill a healthy dose of body confidence in our youth.
Here are seven tips that you can incorporate as you help the child in your life to be more confident.
- Encourage your girls (and boys) to pursue a passion, hobby and/or an activity that she loves.
- Allow them to assist in making decisions and choices that pertain to their life. Choosing things like their own clothing and after school activities can go a long way.
- Pinpoint the values that you uphold and relay these values to your kids in a way that they can fully understand and comprehend.
- When your child comes to you with a dilemma, (if possible) encourage them to solve their own issues instead of fixing the issues for them.
- When your daughter comes to you with questions about her body and the way that it is changing, address her questions. Don’t assume that because she is a child, that she doesn’t or shouldn’t have questions. Try to answer her questions.
- If you catch her talking about someone else’s appearance in a negative way, correct her behavior and explain why that’s not acceptable.
- Tell her how beautiful she is and how much you love her. Make sure she knows that her weight doesn’t interfere with her greatness.
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