Their bodies are going through changes, their environment is dramatically different, they are expected to become more mature and take on more responsibility. During this transition time, they are at risk for starting to develop eating disorders, image related body dysphoria, mood disorders, and anxiety related to how they look. Helping them understand that body image is a social construct that changes over time depending on society’s values and the influence of media on the concept of body image are two important ways to discuss body image. Acceptance and tolerance of differences, not passing judgement on others based on how they look, and empathy are concepts that will continue to be a critical part of this conversation. Always discussing the importance of health and wellness as well as exercise can encourage the development and maintenance of a health body image. Owning your own body image concerns and making sure that they are not impacting your children’s ability to form their own ideals and values is also very important to prevent them from taking on your body image concerns.
“Your body is changing and will continue to do so for a while – how do you feel about what is going? Do you have any questions or concerns?”
“Teens sometimes develop intense feelings about how they look that can impact the decisions they make about what they eat, how they exercise, or what they wear? Does this happen to you or someone you know?”
“If you start to change how you feel about yourself or how you are acting based on how you look, please come talk to me.”