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Saturday, August 13 2022
Know Your Child

Body shaming in teenagers: A rising problem  

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When children reach teenage, there is a rapid physical, emotional, cognitive and psychological changes. This transformation creates confusions, and as a result they become self-conscious of their body and have ambiguity in their thoughts. At times the physical changes make them feel awkward and they seem worry a lot about the sudden changes in their body. To add up to this there are certain TV shows, and social networking sites which display ideal body shape. This is when they start to think of defect in their bodies. Further, they start to sweat it out to attain a perfect body which does not exist. Along with this, the teenagers get influenced by peer group who have certain characteristics to match with their’s. In few cases this also leads to diet plans or heavy workouts which are harmful for their health. So in this process they undergo body shaming which means mocking a person’s physical appearances. They can face this issue by their own peer group, classmates or others. It is mostly common in girls.

Body shaming can happen by self too when one criticises their own body comparing it with others.

How does it affect them?

Unaware of the physical changes, the newly added problems like pimple on the face, colour complexions, weight gain or weight loss always seem to be a big problem for them. The group conformity trait will make this worst when these changes are figured out by them. Therefore they experiment and do trial and error method. Sometimes the failures push them towards doors of depression or make them anxious. The common phrases are “I’m not beautiful, my eyebrows are thin, my hand is short, and I’m not fair like her” So these thoughts lower their confidence level and make them more conscious about who they are.

So how one can make them understand that these changes are temporary at this age, and also though some things cannot be changed make them accept who they are. It is quite challenging for parents as they are self-centred and focus more on what their peers say than listening to parents.

Here are few suggestions that might help parents to bring certain changes.

Let them accept who they are

This is the first thought, teenagers must be aware of. Ofcourse every human being will have one or the another deformities yet they are lovable and adorable. Tell them to think of being kind to themselves and repeat the phrases like “Yeah, I’m fat and I’m okay about it. Or I have dark complexion still I’m cute and adorable. These positive affirmations slowly make them believe in themselves and build confidence. Parents can repeat these statements and this enables even parents too to believe in them.

You always deserve better

Few teenagers feel upset with selection of dress or ornaments as it is not made for them or think they don’t deserve it. They avoid social interactions, tend to stay at home or addicted to phone. This thoughts affect their self-esteem a lot. Therefore they need to understand that they are special and unique and body is not the ultimate thing on which their personality will be judged.

Try finding out their unique abilities

When teenagers get upset with their body deformities, as a parent it is your responsibility to give them a chance to look at the world in a different perspective. Try finding out their strengths and positive traits. Your teenager might be a good pianist or singer, and hence concentrate on their positives.

Be a good company for them

One of the biggest influences teenagers get from social networking sites are the videos, and the content seem to be real yet it is not always true. There is always a better life apart from these social networking sites. Be a good company for them. When you sit to have coffee, let them enjoy it in reality than getting likes and comments for the image of coffee.

Body shaming has become one of the trending topics as the youth is getting into some of the eating disorders or drug addiction. Innthis scenario knowing that there are certain things which cannot be changed or without changing, accept yourself for who you are.

Image by Brigitte Werner

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Ramya E.

The author is a counselor and lifeskills trainer who has trained over 2000 students. She holds an M.Sc. in Psychology.

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