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How Your Actions Affect Your Teen's Body Image

Aug 17, 2007
Today's society places emphasis on the outward appearance of our bodies more than ever before. Our society places a high value on the idea of being impossibly thin. A recent study has shown that the majority of the models we see in print ads and on TV are actually thinner than 98% of most of the women and young girls in the United States.

This is very ironic considering that our society is also one in which food is made to be delivered fast and in large quantities. It is no wonder that so many young women and girls in their early teens are confused about how their body should look.

If you turn on the TV you will notice all the incredibly thin females who are made out to be the perfect female on commercials touting everything from make up to automobiles. Then you'll see another commercial, which is for some type of fast food, urging you to double the size of your order, even though the kid's meal will fill the stomachs of most adults.

Parents have a larger role then they think they do in how their children view their own bodies. Parents can influence a teen by using not only words, but also through body language. Your glances and gestures can influence a child negatively whether or not you mean for them to be negative. It is therefore advised that when you speak to a teen about eating or about weight issues in general be careful in the type of body language that you use. Each action or gesture, including facial expressions that we make, carries a message of its own. When talking to your teen about healthy eating or possible weight issues, be certain that you are conscious of the facial expressions and gestures that you are using.

How you discuss your own body in front of your children will influence how they feel about their own bodies. By speaking of your body in a negative way it is possible for your child to view their own body in a negative way, especially if you have certain traits in common with your child. Rather than saying how fat you feel, just say that you think you would feel better and have more energy if you began an exercise program. Talking about your body in this manner puts a positive spin that outweighs the negative aspect that you are speaking of.

If there's something about your body that bothers you do not try to hide it under baggy clothes and say that it is taken care of. It is far better for you to admit that you have a problem area with your body and take the proper action to get it under control rather than to teach your young teen to hide a particular part of their body. Hiding a part of their body will teach a teen to be ashamed of that part of their body, and could cause the child to have self image issues which can follow them into adulthood.

It is no secret how we perceive our bodies, as by our body language and casual conversation we let those around us know exactly how we feel about our body image. It is for this reason that while we are around our children we should try to maintain a level of positive words and actions about our bodies.

Although teens pretend to tune parents out, they actually tune into our actions and mimic our good and bad habits. We can often give teens their best advise by not saying anything but by acting as role models. The way you eat, exercise and spend your free time will influence your teen. By having them grow up in an atmosphere of healthy eating, good body image and regular fitness will be the best lesson of all.
About the Author
Kevin Sinclair is the publisher and editor of my-personal-growth.com, a site that provides information and articles for self improvement and personal growth and development.
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