Starting Healthy Early: Positive Body Image in Teens

Ways to Teach Positive Body Image in Teens

Body image in teens has become a constant struggle for many young individuals. A recent study found that two in three 13-year-olds worry about gaining weight. Teenagers are regularly being exposed to media that promotes unhealthy and unrealistic body images. Girls are expected to be thin, voluptuous, and stunningly beautiful. While guys are supposed to be tall, muscular, and the spitting image of the current boy band heartthrob.

Many times teens destroy themselves emotionally because they don’t fit these unrealistic “perfect” body images. A recent article by CNN suggests ways to teach positive body image in teens.

Today’s teenagers are flooded with messages in the media influencing body image in teens. Media is telling teens that they either need to be super skinny or have this unrealistic curvy body. It’s not just girls who are experiencing body image problems. Boys are also flooded with images of what a manly man is supposed to look like, which can be just as harmful as the media’s depiction of girls. The best way to counteract those messages is by showing that not everyone who is fit or active is a size 2 or 4. There are many people who are size 8, 10, 12, or 14.

Techniques for Promoting Healthy Body Image in Teens

Be positive about your own body. How parents talk about their own bodies can directly affect body image in teens. Parents should try to be aware of how much they’re commenting about appearance and how critical they feel or their own bodies. Parents should focus less on appearance and more on health, internal qualities, and healthy things that the body can do rather than how it appears. Encourage and promote the importance of things that have more to do with the type of person they are rather than how they look.

Teaching healthy early. Parents can promote positive body image in teens by teaching them aspects of a healthy lifestyle at a young age. Encouraging a lifestyle that includes physical activity, eating right, not missing meals or eating too much fast food or desserts can create lasting healthy habits later on. What kids see their parents eat makes a big impact. Making sure there are healthy food options in the kitchen will encourage teens to grab something healthy rather than something filled with sugar, salt, and calories.

Feel Healthy Not Skinny

When parents encourage healthy habits and mentalities, teens won’t feel the need to immerse themselves in the negative body images in teens. When they exercise and feel good, they won’t feel like they need to look like a Victoria secret model. They’ll just want to continue to feel healthy about themselves.

Asheville Academy is here to help

Asheville Academy, a residential treatment center in a traditional school setting for girls 10-14, helps teen girls struggling with anxiety, depression and other emotional and behavioral issues. If your daughter’s worries about going back to school are more than just normal fears, consider sending her to Asheville Academy, a therapeutic boarding school. With a caring staff and a clinically based program, Asheville Academy can help your daughter feel comfortable with school.

For more information about Asheville Academy, contact us today at 800.264.8709