What’s up with your teen daughter’s body image?
It’s tough to know what your daughter is thinking when she looks in the mirror.
You watch her obsess over her clothes, her hair and her face. All too often her mood goes downhill from there. Most teenage girls spend a fair amount of time choosing clothes, scrutinizing “flaws”, and practicing their selfie face.
That’s normal, right?
According to a recent study, 53% of 13-year-old American girls are unhappy with their bodies. By the time they are 17, the percentage increases to 78%. It’s a trend you hope will stop with your daughter’s generation.
Normal or not, how can you help your daughter stop obsessing over her appearance?
It begins by checking your own self-judgment.
Positive Role Modeling
It’s all connected. How you feel about your own body directly impacts how well you care for it. Your kids pick up on your feelings about your body and their bodies, your comments about other people’s appearance, and your self-care habits.
Truly, the best way to help your teen daughter improve her body image is to make that shift yourself.
- When you look in the mirror, be happy with what you see. Smile at your reflection. Don’t fuss!
- Stop yourself from judging others by their looks. Notice the beauty of diversity.
- Take good care of your body.
Listen Without Fixing (You can do it!)
Hormonal shifts and mood swings are obstacles to practical conversations about body image. Understandably, your teen daughter’s self-esteem is delicate and body centered reactions are a big feature on the landscape of life right now.
If at times your daughter’s comments about her appearance sound nonsensical or overly dramatic, at least she’s sharing with you!
Listen to her. Resist the urge to fix her or problem solve. Help her understand that all humans, including you, have worries about their appearance at this time of life.
Remember, her #1 goal is to feel normal. Help her understand that she is normal.
- Grab a fashion magazine and explain how many hours of preparation and touch up go into those images. Here’s a great example of the extreme Photoshop makeover that photos of models and celebrities undergo for a typical magazine image.
- Identify smart, successful women who don’t fit the cultural norm of female beauty to help your daughter see that looks aren’t nearly the whole picture.
- Show her different fashions and body preferences from other eras and cultures.
More than anything else, love her for who she is right now, body, mind and spirit.
How do you manage your own body image mindset? What are your ideas for improving your teen daughter’s body image?