At a certain stage of adolescence, it’s common in every household to have one or more image-conscious teen who get on your nerves or leave you simply exasperated by their long hours spent in the bathroom or in front of the mirror. Mothers usually find themselves on the receiving edge of irritated looks from the impossible teenagers while she was only commenting about her son’s new hairstyle or daughter’s choosy eating habits.
Whether you judge them or not, youngsters will have developed their own benchmarks and uncertainties about their physical self. As a parent, you do them a great favour if you can cut down on critical remarks and help them have a healthy body image of themselves. Your opinion matters just as much as their peers’.
Here are some tips that will earn you your child’s respect and love.
- Exercise control over your gaze and tongue lest it may give away negative comments about your child’s weight, food, body size, shape and colour. Know that it hurts their feelings and self-worth.
- Accept that being concerned over looks is a natural part of child’s growth. You don’t need to add any more pressure than the existing media and societal expectations of ‘good looks.’ You were once in their shoes. Value the genes that he/she inherited from you.
- Give compliments on their efforts to look good. Moreover praise their physical qualities (like grace, strength, speed, smile) and capabilities and who they are on the inside.
- If your child expresses doubts and insecurities about how they feel about the way they look, be lavish in providing counter points that emphasise their self-worth.
- Be aware of media’s agenda in promoting stereotypes of ideal body images and discuss such portrayals with your child when you are together. Encourage him/her to limit media exposure if that bothers their real image.
- You may set reasonable limits on the time and money your child spends on grooming and dressing. Tell them to manage time that they don’t cause inconvenience to others, forget to do chores and to be considerate of others’ needs.
- Be a good role model by taking care of how you talk of your own looks and how you judge others’ bodies. How you treat your body with respect and kindness is what your child will follow.
- Help him/her find their own style. Let them experiment. You don’t have to intervene unless their standards get atrocious or unacceptable.
- Ask your child to surround herself/himself with positive people who are not obsessed about their looks and do not fret about their imperfections all the time. Or suggest a new hobby.
- You can do your part by providing plenty of nutritious food, making sure that get regular exercise, good sleep and a good collection in wardrobe.