Overcoming Unrealistic Expectations
Communication is crucial in helping teens overcome unrealistic expectations. While there is nothing wrong with a teen attempting to improve his or her self-image through healthy means such as proper diet and regular exercise, unrealistic expectations can easily cause very negative effects, such as indirectly encouraging a teen to engage in substance abuse or other destructive behaviors in response to their self-image issues.
Some teens may feel reluctant to talk about these issues, and some parents may not even realize their children are struggling with self-image problems until physical effects start to manifest. Parents can help their teens overcome self-image issues in various ways.
Be A Good Role Model
It may feel impossible to have a conversation with your teen sometimes, but whether you realize it or not, your teen is watching and listening, and you have a profound effect on how he or she perceives the world. Set a good example by leading a healthy lifestyle and talking openly about the self-image issues you struggled with as a teen or the issues you still consider challenging.
Be Receptive, Not Pushy
You cannot get blood from a stone, and you cannot force your teen into an uncomfortable conversation he or she isn’t ready to have. Pay close attention for clues that your teen is bothered by something and offer to help in a constructive, nonconfrontational way. If a teen feels attacked or criticized, this may only worsen his or her self-image problem.
Be Kind To Yourself
If your teen hears you constantly complaining about aging, thinning hair, gaining weight, or your looks diminishing, he or she will compartmentalize these notions and they will undoubtedly influence his or her interpretations of what it means to have a healthy self-image.
Be Kind To Your Teen
Your teen may struggle with weight gain or other physical changes, and addressing these issues in the wrong way can be destructive. Instead of confronting your teen about a potentially sensitive topic, start complimenting him or her about other aspects of his or her self-image. These small positive boosts have a tremendous impact on your teen’s overall self-esteem.
Put Media In Perspective
Make sure your teen knows that the beautiful people he or she sees on television, in movies, and in magazines are wealthy, with access to plastic surgeons, professional dieticians, and personal trainers. They are not a realistic interpretation of the average person. Have conversations about how your teen views the media and gently correct misinterpretations about physical beauty.
Make Healthy Living A Family Affair
Encouraging healthy habits early in life will benefit your teen for his or her whole life. When you uphold healthy living standards and refrain from keeping too much junk food in the house you inherently encourage your teen to make better personal health choices later in life.