Encouraging Body Positivity in Children
Our culture has led us towards a general lack of body positivity, especially amongst children. Kids are naive and tend to believe whatever they see or hear. The idea and perception of beauty and perfection that media presents have triggered issues within children. Unfortunately, this isn’t just restricted to girls but has had a significant impact on boys as well. A child’s self-image is dependent on how they see themselves in the mirror and what they think about their mental capacities.
Self-image has become a serious concern amongst teenagers and young children due to their exposure to media. A large number of cases related to mental health issues and risk-taking behaviors arise within this age bracket. These cases are linked to body dissatisfaction and wanting to be perfect without realizing the consequences it may have.
How our kids feel about their bodies directly affects their self-esteem, which is why it has become necessary to touch upon the topic of body positivity. Young minds should understand that no such thing as a ‘perfect body’ exists and they need to love themselves for who they are.
Body positivity revolves around self-love which is one of the most important factors in developing a confident personality. If you feel your child lacks the confidence they need to succeed, then they may be having doubts about their body and may not love themselves. This gives you an added reason to understand what body positivity is and how you can make your child love themself.
What Is Body Positivity?
Have you thought of a world filled with positivity and kindness towards each other? Body positivity is a concept that associates beauty with all sorts of body types including those who are overweight, disabled, or neurodivergent. Every physique is unique and not only needs to be accepted but requires self-care and love too.
A positive body image breaks down all barriers around the concept of beauty, encouraging everyone to respect, care for, and support their forms. Children need to understand that self-love will help them break down negative thoughts and make them steadfast on the road to their goals.
Body positivity is not just restricted to the physical aspect but covers the intellectual facet too. If someone continues to call them ‘dumb’ or ‘stupid’ they will start to resonate with it and will end up accepting that feature as part of themselves. Hence, we need to understand that body image isn’t just about how someone looks, but also how they feel about themselves psychologically.
The Importance of Self-Confidence
If you don’t feel good about yourself then you don’t feel good about anything in your life. Due to this reason, it’s vital to instill positivity in children from a young age. If they deem themselves worthless, they won’t have the confidence to succeed in their academics and careers. Regardless of their looks, weight or body type, children deserve to feel self-confident!
Self-confidence is present in a child when they feel they can achieve something important. While physical appearances may play a role in the self-confidence of an individual, it is also dependent on how they feel about succeeding. Once they are made to believe that they can reach their goals, they become confident about themselves and start working towards what they wish to attain.
If you see your child experiencing trouble building self-confidence then as a parent you need to help them boost it. You can start off by avoiding making criticisms of their physical appearance or asking them to increase/decrease their weight. Most importantly, tell them that they are capable of reaching goals and becoming successful. Build a base for conversation and talk about the importance of self-confidence in general.
5 Ways To Foster Body Positivity in Children
As parents, we should consider the negative effects of feeling rejected by people because of having a certain body type or being labeled as dull. Through consistent and positive communication, you can help your child overcome their feeling of worthlessness and foster body positivity in them.
Understand Body Positivity Yourself
Educate yourself with the term body positivity and understand what it truly means. Before trying to help your child fight their battle with a negative body image, see how you internalize it. Do you use terms that consist of harmful body talk? If you continue to express demeaning thoughts about your own physical appearance and how you are incapable of meeting targets, your children will pick up on that and carry that with themselves.
Try replacing negative thoughts and words with positive ones to encourage an optimistic school of thought in your child’s mind. When they see you accepting yourself the way you are, there are greater chances of them being comfortable in their own skin as well. A child follows the concept of a role model, and you could become that when you start embodying strength and confidence in every act you make.
Start relating the idea of body positivity and confidence with each other. Once you begin applying this in front of your children, they will adopt it and practice it within their lives.
Communicate With Them
Communication is key. Sit down with your children and talk about how they feel about themselves. Engaging in such conversations will not only help you in developing a stronger bond with them but will also boost their body image and self-confidence. Talking about any negativity they may have about their physical looks or mental ability will allow you to tackle the issue accordingly.
Children always require that extra push from their parents to help them achieve something. By having meaningful conversations you can not only give them the confidence they need but also guide them towards their goal.
Read Books That Include Diversity
If your child is at the stage where you read to them or share reading materials with them, then find books or stories that challenge the ideals set by society. While there are many books that focus on the idea of boosting body positivity, you’ll have to choose something according to your child’s age.
For instance, the majority of the books show boys achieving larger goals as compared to girls. You could start off by reading books that show girls becoming successful in life. Open up their imagination to limitless possibilities and make them believe that it could be them one day.
Reading opens up children’s creative and imaginative side where they choose to believe what they read. Stories that depict inclusivity will allow them to feel confident about themselves and love them for who they are.
Find Ways To Celebrate Them
Every child is unique and beautiful. You just need to show them that they are perfect as they are. Do they have really curly hair? Do they have freckles? Learn ways to celebrate their physical features and talents to appreciate them. Help them find their strengths and allow them to focus on those.
If they’re good gymnasts, assist them in becoming the best. Once they like how they feel, they’ll learn to be confident in their talents and make something special out of them.
Help Them Build A Foundation of Self-Love
Self-love and self-care are two very crucial components of body positivity. To foster body positivity in your young one, you need to ensure that your child is treating themself with the respect and love they truly deserve. The body houses the brain. A healthy body will lead to a healthy mind and positive thoughts.
Children need to understand that their body requires proper care like good meals, and proper sleep while looking after themselves mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Before they start exploring the world around them, they should realize how essential self-care and self-love are for nurturing their minds and helping them understand their place in the world.
No matter how much you try, you can’t escape the idea of an ‘ideal body’ in today’s world. Even if you restrict media, your children are bound to face this dilemma in schools and classrooms. It’s not just girls who are stuck facing negative body image, boys are a target too.
Apart from the stigma of an ideal body type, children are left feeling worthless when they hear comments that reflect that. This kills their self-confidence and makes them vulnerable to psychological issues.
As parents, you need to be effective role models and set an example that your children can follow and learn from. However, it is important that every once in a while you check in with your children and see if they’re doing okay. Feeling worthless over a span of time will lead to mental and other health issues that may become a serious concern.
A healthy environment promotes positivity and using this concept, you can help your child feel confident about themselves. From toddlers to adolescents to teenagers, all children require a boost and using the right measures as mentioned above, you can lead them towards becoming strong, independent individuals who are confident about how they look and feel.
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