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Mirror; Mirror: Teens and Body Image

When Disney created the evil queen in Snow White, he portrayed her as a woman driven mad by her own vanity.  While this is obviously an extreme case, the teen years are none the less a time when the way a teen feels about how she looks can severely affect how she feels about herself in general.  That is why it is so important that you work with your teen to help her feel confident and at peace with her body.

One way you can do this is by making peace with your own body image.  If you are constantly trying to change how you look by dieting or cosmetic surgery, you are sending a message to your teen that the average human body is somehow defective.  The same is true if you abuse your body with alcohol or binge eating.  Teens need to see us view our own bodies as precious vessels in which we live out our lives.

Another important factor is to encourage healthy eating and exercise for its own sake, not for the sake of how others see us.  If we love and appreciate our bodies, we'll want to take good care of them for our own satisfaction, not to fit into some sort of air brushed false image that society is trying to mold us into.

Be careful of you own comments about how others look.  If you see a waif like model in a magazine, don't compliment how good she looks to your teen.  Instead, focus on the article about what she is doing with her life.  If she is helping others, great!  Praise her for that.  But if she's just getting out of rehab, remind your teen that she's certainly no role model.

Finally, encourage your teen to dress well for her, in clothes she feels good about.  Remind her that when she respects herself, others will respect and admire her, too.

We'll teach you how to #LiveTo100!

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