Teenage girls are under pressure
Body image is something many teenage girls feel pressure to be sexy, be thin, be sporty… BE PERFECT.
Girls experience an overwhelming amount of pressure to look, think, and act in a certain way. Differing viewpoints and opinions bombard them at school, at home, in sports, and most pervasive, on their screens. The pressure to conform in order to fit in or be liked can often lead to physical and psychological health problems.
I recently spoke with a teen who admitted her Body Image was a 4/10 and would only improve when she met the “societal standard” of beauty.
Self-acceptance as a cure for unrealistic expectations
To combat this pressure to be perfect, girls need to deeply connect with who they are and what they value. They need to be able to differentiate between positive peer-pressure and negative peer-pressure and understand when to set boundaries, say no, and follow their inner-guide. They need to develop a sense of personal-pride and self-acceptance.
How can you help her develop a healthy body image?
As a parent, you play an important role in teaching and coaching your daughter so she experiences these positive outcomes. With guidance, and through your own modeling, she will develop the inner-strength and perspective to see past the pressure and stay connected to her true path.
Examine beauty beliefs with thought-provoking questions.
- What does it mean to be perfect?
- Is that realistic?
- What is more important, how you look or how you feel? Why?
- What makes you feel your best?
- Share this quote: “Beauty is not in the face, but a light within the heart.” How do you allow the light within your heart to shine?
Identify her triggers for comparison, body-shame, and self-criticism. Ask open-ended questions about how certain posts or images makes her feel. Help her recognize when her reactions are helpful and when they are harmful.
Teach her about her changing body and normalize those changes, including that weight gain is a normal part of puberty.
Show her examples of real people who transcend societal standards of beauty and perfection. Help broaden her understanding of beauty and realize that there is no such thing as perfect. Take it a step further by examining your beliefs of beauty and perfection. How do you show your daughter your own self-acceptance and personal pride?
Be an inspiration!
Remember the good news! Girls of all ages report that their number one source of inspiration is not in a celebrity, YouTube star, or supermodel, it is their mother. Nourish that special relationship and start taking simple actions to enhance your connection.
For more on promoting a healthy body image in your teen, check out my audio course Support a Healthy Body Image.