In today’s ultra-sensitive media environment, our kids are being bombarded with an image of what their bodies should look like that are not necessarily healthy for their self image. This can affect both girls and boys. Talking to our kids about their bodies is one of the hardest things parents can do — but the constant bombardment of messages about desirable weight and appearance makes this discussion crucial. Additionally, talking to our kids about what beauty means of the opposite sex is equally as important so they don’t judge one another to unrealistic standards. Common Sense Media has put together a list of tips to help address this issue with your kids.
Tips for parents of all kids
- Watch what you say. When you spend a lot of time talking about dieting or criticizing your own body, your daughter is listening. You are still your daughter’s biggest role model. If you take care of yourself, you’ll help your kids appreciate all that our bodies can do.
- If your kids are struggling with body image, you might share your own insecurities and how you dealt with them. You want your kids to know that you understand. After all, this is just the beginning of a life-long dialogue.
- Keep an eye on your kid’s social networks, texts, and other online comments. Today’s kids are living in a constant feedback loop of criticism. They can post, send, and read comments about their friends and themselves instantly — and many take advantage of anonymity and online distance to insult one another’s weight and appearance.
- Keep an eye on their selfies. No parent wants to see sexy photos of their daughter (or her friends). But selfies are a popular activity with some teens. Explain the risks — and if you can’t get them to stop, at least make sure they use strict privacy settings.