Body Image Concerns in Teens

By  ,  Onlymyhealth editorial team
Oct 05, 2017

The tremendous physical change during adolescence creates a consciousness and increased interest about one’s own body. The changing body image can lead to feeling of pride, shyness or even unhappiness with one’s own body. 

Why Is Body Image Important

Body image indicates how a person perceives and feels about his or her own body and physical appearance. A person with positive body image feels good and pretty satisfied with his or her look, appreciates the body for its capabilities and is not much bothered with its imperfections. Body image is important during adolescence or for that matter all ages as this affects how you feel about yourself. Self confidence and self-esteem of adolescent girls and boys who do not like their looks can be affected negatively.


How Puberty Affects Body Image

Body image is an important part of our self-image especially during adolescence because their bodies are changing so much that it can become the main focus of attention. The physical changes during puberty can make an adolescence feel anxious, uncertain and confused due to it. Physical changes during puberty can be tough to deal with emotionally and can cause several socio-emotional effects.

The socio-emotional effects of physical changes are more pronounced in early maturing girls. Early maturing girls, face problems as they look ‘too grown up’ as compared to peers. This can make them a target for teasing and the parents also tend to enforce certain restrain and curbs on them. The physical changes can make these girls feel uncomfortable and dis-satisfied with their body. Whereas early maturation boys have socially advantages as the superior height, weight and strength as compared to peers give them a sense of prestige. The changes in physical appearance like longer hands, arms, feet, and legs as compared to the body initially in the boys can make your son feel a little awkward. Similarly changing voice or growing body hair can also make your son feel self-conscious.

Most adolescent feel uncomfortable with their changing bodies and may find it awkward and become self- conscious. As a parent you should help your child accept the physical changes. Talk to your child about the changes that they would be experiencing. You have to stress on the fact that these changes are normal and natural which take place in every individual. Awareness and parenteral support can ensure that this time period passes off without too many problems.

You Need Not be Picture Perfect 

In the past only girls felt the pressure of being picture-perfect image. The current emphasis on looks has created a sense of pressure on boys as well. During the changing phase of puberty physical appearance can create a lot of confusion and apprehension in an adolescent. Help your child to pass through this phase of development by being supportive and making them aware of the changes that they would be experiencing.

How to Build a Better Body Image

Some suggestions that can help your adolescent build a better body image:

  • Make them recognize their strengths, qualities and achievements. Making them explore their talents can do a lot of good for self-esteem and how they think about themselves.
  • Remind your child that a good body doesn't always translate into success in life.
  • Make them join a training program as exercise can help to feel good about self and improve the physique and shape.
  • Encourage them to avoid smoking, drinking, and drug abuse. Make them aware that these habits are known to be harmful and have negative effects on the body.
  • Encourage your child to eat healthy, practice good grooming habits (such as showering daily; brushing twice a day, taking care of hair and skin.

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