Encouraging a Healthy Body Image in Your Child
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Children and adolescents are observant and perceptive, often modeling their parents' and adult figures’ behavior to navigate their choices. Keeping this in mind, parents need to serve as healthy role models in their own behaviors around food and body image, both in person and on social media.
It is important for parents to examine their own attitudes, beliefs, prejudices, and behaviors about food, weight, body image, physical appearance, health, and exercise. And what’s even more important is that parents “own it” (i.e., recognize and acknowledge) when they are not modeling this – and make a concerted effort to change.
It’s OK if you make a mistake — all parents can slip up, get heated, or not even realize that what they are saying/doing is coming out wrong. What’s important is that this isn’t consistent behavior, and once again, that you “own it,” apologize, and correct the behavior.
Here are some examples of unhelpful and unhealthy statements that parents sometimes say in front of their kids and the lasting impact they can make.