Body image is something that haunts women of all ages, shapes, and sizes. It can seem inescapable as part of our female DNA, as though we must wrestle with it and carry it around with us daily. In recent years there has been a big push in education and the media to promote a healthier body image for women and girls, after it was accepted that poor body image is absolutely detrimental to the mental health and success of females everywhere.
If you are involved with a teen girl in any capacity (parent, teacher, coach, or otherwise) it can seem a daunting, impossible task to correct the negative body image with which she has been indoctrinated and even obsessed. Talking to a girl about her size, shape, weight, appearance, and flaws is definitely a delicate mission. However experts in therapy and rehabilitation of teen girls have found that poor body image can lead to a plethora of additional problems, while positive body image can promote self-worth and prevent other problems that might beset teen girls.
Poor Body Image & Bullying
Although most girls experience poor body image at some point during their teen years, for some it can be absolutely destructive. It’s certainly traumatic for any who experience it. But if your daughter is struggling with any other issues, such as bullying, body image can exacerbate the problem.
Girls who are targeted by bullies tend to be those who are a little less confident with themselves – and usually their bodies. If they are allowed to tie their personal worth to their body image (real or perceived) the results can be devastating. Bullies may make comments about weight, size, shape, or other imperfections that will stick to your daughter like glue. She will carry around the insults and allow them to define her identity and body image. Girls who are already targeted by bullies are in increased danger when it comes to their body image. Your daughter may be susceptible – unless she has learned to develop a positive body image.
Developing Positive Body Image
If you suspect your daughter may have a poor body image or is a victim of bullying there are things you can do to help her. Body image is not permanent, and her perception can be changed. It may take work and some hard conversations, but it’s well worth the effort. Your daughter CAN develop a positive body image, which will make her happier and more resilient, and in turn will help her repel bullying and live a happier life. There are easy methods you can begin trying immediately to encourage positive body image in your own home.
The most important factor in your daughter’s poor body image and bullying is YOU. If you put forth the effort to improve her body image you could change her life. If your troubled teen girl is experience body image problems there is help and there are things you can do – beginning with good old fashioned conversation. Even if it’s awkward and tough at first, take this important first step and watch her body image improve.