Body Image Tips for Parents

  1. Talking about it versus not talking about it is helpful, even if it is hard or uncomfortable.
  2. Know that your relationship with your own body is an opportunity for powerful role modeling.
  3. Be mindful that their struggles with self-perception may have very little to do with their actual appearance or body shape.
  4. Educate them in an informal way about proper nutrition (importance of fat, carbs, and protein), as well as healthy exercise habits.
  5. Be curious about patterns and themes around when they ‘feel fat.’
  6. Talk with them about images in the media — help them to think critically about the messages they are receiving.
  7. Try and be patient, compliments about how they look won’t necessarily solve the problem, if that isn’t the issue.
  8. Helping them feel understood and competent in other areas of their life can be helpful. Be aware of how they are ‘mirrored’ by their friends, extra curricular activities, etc.
  9. In the short term, helping them get the focus out of their ‘head’, can be a helpful tool for them to learn.
  10. Physical activity can be helpful to the extent that it allows them to feel more connected to their body.  Try to help them distinguish between doing it for solely for accomplishment versus experiencing a shift in how they feel inside.

The Body Self