Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you! I’m working on a Coming of Age Novel, I’m excited about this one, and I’m having a lot of fun with it. The story delves into the complexity of relationships whether it’s a friendship, mother/daughter relationship, or mentor/trainee relationship.
As I was writing this story, I started thinking about teens and all the issues they face during the teen years. As parents, we have to remember teens are experiencing many of their feelings for the first time and they haven’t learned how to deal with them yet. Some of these feelings can be very powerful and overwhelming.
An area that seems to cause so much trouble, especially for young girls, is the area of body image. During the teen years, a girl’s body goes through many changes. These changes can trigger feelings of insecurity.
The unfortunate thing about these feelings is that teens don’t know how to cope with them, and many get into the habit of comparing their body with the bodies of their peers. In my opinion, this leads them down the destructive path of comparison and competition.
This is unhealthy because it can lead to eating disorders and other unhealthy behaviors. I remember my own experiences as a teen. I ran cross-country in high school and so I was relatively skinny. Quite a few of my peers would tell me I was too skinny. I was sensitive so I took these comments to heart and started to have negative feelings about my thinness. Until one day, I was at lunch with my friends and the conversation turned to dieting and diet pills. I noticed the girls who were telling me I was too skinny were taking diet pills to squash their appetite. I didn’t voice this to anyone, but I remember thinking, if I’m too skinny why are you taking diet pills? As you can see it’s not just the overweight girls who struggle, the thin ones do too.
Many people blame the media for causing this body image issue because they promote airbrushed bodies and faces. However, studies show it’s not these images that cause the issues; it’s the comparison and competition among peers that cause it. See this article for further info: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/01/31/body-image-issues-for-you_n_2590719.html
As teen relationships move to the internet arena, studies have found that young girls who use social media sites are more prone to negative body image, anorexia, and bulimia.
Many young girls will post images of themselves and according to this article from Huffington Post; forty-one percent of women from the ages of 18-24 retouch their photos before posting them to social media sites. To read the article, click on this link: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/01/31/body-image-issues-for-you_n_2590719.html
In my opinion, we as parents need to help our girls develop an appreciation for their bodies before they start changing. We need to compliment them on how strong and capable they are. We need to direct their focus on how important it is to be healthy and not on how they look.
For example, when I focused on how good I felt after a run, I didn’t worry about whether I was too skinny or not. I just felt good. I was healthy and I ate what sounded good at the time. If that was a double cheeseburger and fries, so be it. 🙂
Thanks for stopping by and reading my post today. If you have any memories or tips you’d like to share about promoting a healthy body image please do! I’d love to read them.
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