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How to raise children without appearance complexes

How to raise children without appearance complexes How to free children from appearance complexes (photo:

To teach a child to accept themselves and their appearance calmly, it is necessary to cultivate a positive attitude and nurture uniqueness. This will help the child be confident in themselves and not overly concerned about their outward appearance.

Guidance on raising self-assured children who are not preoccupied with their appearance, according to LifeHacker.

Why are children not confident in themselves

Nearly two-thirds of parents say that their child lacks self-confidence due to certain elements of their appearance, according to the National Child Health Poll of C.S. Mott Children's Hospital at the University of Michigan. Additionally, one in five parents reports that their teenagers are reluctant to take photos because they are too self-conscious.

"Children begin to form opinions about their body and appearance at a very young age," says Dr. Susan Woolford, a pediatrician at the University of Michigan's CS Mott Children's Hospital.

A child's negative attitude towards their appearance can easily be linked to social media. The same level of impact also stems from interactions with peers, strangers, or family members. But how can parents teach their children to embrace themselves? Here are a few simple things you can do to help children accept who they are.

Do they worry about their appearance

You may notice this through several signs. Your child might frequently refuse to be photographed or consistently cover a particular area of their body.

Another indicator is if the child constantly talks about or asks about their appearance. Sudden attempts at trendy diets or excessive physical activity are also among these signs.

"We looked at things like an unwillingness to be in photographs. Some kids may not want to be in certain social situations. If it seems to be negatively impacting their quality of life or self-esteem, it might prompt parents to take action," she emphasizes.

Help children develop a critical perspective on information

What your child engages in online is important, but how they perceive it is even more crucial. Teach your child to approach online information critically.

For example, a few years ago, Dove conducted an advertising campaign demonstrating the behind-the-scenes work and manipulations used in creating advertisements. This could serve as a starting point for a more extensive conversation.

"Parents can teach their children to be media-savvy and savvy, so they understand that images of the ideal body and face in advertising, media, and even from their own friends on social media don't reflect reality," says Woolford.

Social media is not the sole culprit

Concerned parents have been worried about the consequences of beauty standards long before the advent of Instagram, TikTok, and other social media platforms.

Many parents participating in the national survey reported that real-life interactions have a more significant impact on their children's self-esteem than social media.

Try talking to any children, strangers, or other family members who may reinforce negative body image perceptions in your children.

Change their motivation

Advertising for diet and fitness programs and products typically focuses on how their services can improve your appearance rather than how you will feel when you finish.

Parents should not emphasize the reduction of the number on the scale but rather how better nutrition and more physical activity can help improve overall health.

The conversation about food should center around its benefits, as fruits, vegetables, and other foods contain all the vitamins and minerals necessary for the normal functioning of each organ.

"The reasons to have a healthy weight aren't about how we look or what we wear. It's because we are more likely to function better. Our blood vessels are more likely to stay nice, open, and transparent for blood to flow through. Our lungs function well. Our heart functions well. I think we need to shift this conversation about food and activity to be all about helping our bodies function optimally," she explains.

Concerns about appearance are not gender-dependent

When Woolford began the survey, she initially thought that the issues addressed in it pertained mainly to girls. However, the data revealed something quite remarkable.

"The data showed that a higher percentage of parents where girls indicated their child was concerned, but the percentage of parents where boys indicated was quite substantial," she says.

Children of both genders, aged 8 to 18, expressed concerns about their weight, skin, hair, teeth, height, and certain facial features, demonstrating that the male gender is equally vulnerable to issues such as depression, eating disorders, and low self-esteem.

Remind children that it's not forever

A child's body undergoes rapid changes during the period of puberty, which means that aspects of physical appearance that children typically focus on tend to fade over time. Woolford suggests that parents can show their children pictures of themselves from childhood to help them see that issues with skin and teeth are just a phase.

"Parents can acknowledge that we all feel a bit awkward about certain things. But it doesn't define us and doesn't impact our self-esteem," adds the expert.