Pre-Teens and Body Image
Teens (especially girls) are highly
self critical and often have a poor body
image. These feelings can develop into eating
disorders, dieting, weight
gain and loss, which all have the potential for causing long
term weight problems.
It is important that teens develop a
positive body image well before they reach their teen
years, as girls as young as 6 think that they do not compare to
what they think of as an ideal weight.
What can you do to help your child feel good about himself
or herself physically?
1) Point out the fact that healthy, attractive
people come in all sizes and shapes and help your child discover
what she likes about her body (instead
of focusing on what she thinks isn't perfect)
2) Keep your comments positive and realistic.
A girl in early puberty (which can occur, in some, as early as
nine or ten) may experience a significant weight gain as the normal
body shape changes from angular to rounded. This is a normal passage
of adolescence and should not be viewed with alarm and criticism
by parents. It can help to reassure your daughter that her new
shape is a positive sign of many more changes to come as she grows
from little girl to woman.
3) If your child--either a daughter or a son--is
overweight, seek medical help and advice. If a physician determines
that the child does, in fact, need to lose weight, changing the
family's eating and exercise habits to make such change easier
for the child is helpful. Emphasize good health and fitness as
a family instead of singling out the overweight child for a special
regimen. Family health and togetherness--rather than attractiveness--can
be a much more positive goal.
Disciplining Your Teen
Rules & Limits
Sex & Relationships
Sex & Knowledge
Talking About Birth
Talking About HIV &
Talking About Self-Image
Talking About Puberty
Drugs & Pre-teens