Does any of this sound familiar? “I’m too short”, “If only I had curly hair”, “I wish my nose was smaller”. It is common to struggle with body image, no matter who you are. But there are things you can do to help your kids, even at a young age, feel confident and good about themselves.
It is important kids understand how self-esteem and body image are connected. Self-esteem is how you feel about yourself. These feelings can change as things in your life change, such as going to a new school or becoming a brother or sister. Self-esteem can be positive (you love, respect, and trust yourself) or negative (feeling insecure and helpless).
Body image is part of self-esteem. It is how you feel about how you look. Body image also includes how you think others see you. Having a positive body image means that you:
- feel comfortable in your body and with the way you look
- feel good about the things your body can do
- feel empowered to take good care of your physical health.
Some things we can change through effort by studying, practicing and learning. Some things are out of our power to change such as height, race and who our parents are. Then there are some things that may change over time such as our natural hair color, our joints and muscles and our experiences.
Self-esteem can’t be taught, but it can be strengthened. This lesson could spark difficult feelings for young people who are highly insecure, depressed or otherwise struggling. Encourage them to talk to a trusted friend or adult if they find themselves feeling down about themselves on a regular basis or over a long period of time.
Check out our “Self-esteem and Body Image” lesson to help your children reflect on the messages they get and give about personal worth and value. Additional resources can be found at changetochill.org. Change to Chill provides free, easy-to-use information to help teens manage their stress in a healthy way.