Confronting Summertime Body Image Issues
According to a report by Common Sense Media, at least half of girls and one third of boys have an “ideal weight”. As young as six years old, young children believe that they should be more thin than they are now. Dieting behaviors in order to achieve this ideal weight starts young, as well. The report found that by the young age of seven years old, one in four kids has already engaged in a dieting behavior.
Why are young children already so impressed upon regarding their diet, appearance, and worth? Sadly, the study indicates it is coming from their moms. Females face a tremendous amount of pressure in their body image. Moms who are unhappy with the way they look and audibly criticize their body image in front of their young children have an impact. The study found that children as young as five years old are more likely to have body dissatisfaction as a result of thinking their mother has body dissatisfaction.
Summertime is a challenging season for parents and their children who struggle with body image. Body image issues can fuel eating disorders and mental health conditions which put adolescents and teens at a higher risk for turning to drugs and alcohol. Substance abuse and body image often go hand in hand because adolescents and teens are trying to escape the pain of insecurity, find confidence and freedom from inhibition in substances, or abuse the substances to lose weight.
Tips For Summer Body Image Issues
- Bathing suits don’t define who we are: When you take the dreaded trip to go bathing suit shopping, keep your personal criticisms to a minimum, if not completely silent. Remember, it is not your child’s responsibility to validate your body image! You are setting the example for them. Remind your child that bathing suits are an external fashion choice in order to enjoy beloved summertime activities. Bathing suit brands, designs, and sizes, do not define a summer or who someone is.
- Find a bathing suit that is comfortable and designed well: There are many bathing suits which just aren’t designed comfortably or logically. Encourage your child to find the bathing suit which works for them, not the one they think they have to wear to impress their peers. They should feel comfortable in their own skin. Ask them what they want in a bathing suit for the summer and find the perfect suit.
- Create a body-positivity challenge: Create a rule and a consequence for negative body image talk. Try charging a quarter or a dollar for every negative body image statement and reward body positive conversation instead. It is important to keep a watch for symptoms of distress. While eliminating negative body talk is important, it could inhibit your child’s need to openly discuss their insecurities and stress. Soothe their fears, hug them through their tears, and remind them overall that they are doing a fantastic job getting through this challenge and you’re proud of every ounce of who they are.
Stonewater Adolescent Recovery Center is a safe haven for summertime recovery. Settled on 62 acres of beautiful rolling hillsides in Northern Mississippi, our estate offers adolescents and teens access to a lake and numerous outdoor activities in addition to a safe and comfortable home for recovery. Free to explore nature and heal from addiction, Stonewater provides a compassionate environment for healing. For information on our residential treatment programs, call us today: 662-598-4214