New Delhi: As a mother of a teenager, this is a sensitive topic for me to talk about. I understand how helpless we can feel when we realize that our little ones are growing up and making their own space in this wide world.
Our children are incredible in our eyes, but they may experience a drop in self-esteem during these crucial years of life. Our children grow through a series of new changes and transformations during these years and it is overwhelming and induces doubt in them. We cannot force our children to conquer their fears and doubts in a go, but we can be a helping hand in their lives so that they always have a support system to lean on. Here are 5 brilliant tips for you as a parent to help you engage with your teenage kids and help them fight their battles with body foam, self-doubt and anxiety.
Build their confidence, never compare to other kids
The reason your kids struggle with their bodies is because they compare their bodies to unrealistic standards of beauty. They meet their companions at schools, in shops, with family friends, and on social media. The content they consume through social media can be toxic and we don’t want to add their insecurities. One of the ways we can achieve this is by not comparing our children to others. Every child is unique, just like their body, we must try to make our children believe in themselves and feel comfortable in their skin without putting others in the picture.
Lead by example
You can encourage them to exercise. At our home I was the one who started practicing martial arts in my 30’s and watching me 3-4 times a week and encouraged my daughter to start karate too. Now she goes to karate 2-3 times a week. Sometimes she resists marriage due to exams or homework, but as a mother, I stand firm and insist that she continue her classes. Sometimes I have to bribe her, sometimes scold her to keep going, and other times I have to let it go and accept that she’s not taking martial arts classes. Parenting is about being flexible and knowing that there is no gain against your children but working as a team to help them find their own identity and passion.
Never body shame your children
As parents, we also unknowingly make mistakes. I once interrupted my daughter while she was eating and told her that this is how she will gain weight. I immediately felt a sense of guilt and shame. I realized that I was doing the same thing my parents used to do to me, which led to a vicious cycle of food addiction. Through my therapies and self-awareness, I’ve learned never to shame others about their bodies or their eating habits. Don’t prevent your kids from eating, instead replace the food they consume with healthier food options. Try to instill the habit of paying attention to what you are consuming and respecting your body and the food you eat.
You can also encourage your children to know and understand their bodies. Once they feel they understand themselves, they should practice radical self-acceptance. You can ask them to stand in front of the mirror and thank the body they have and practice acceptance of what they cannot change. Every curve is beautiful and every scar defines her journey through life. They should not be ashamed of their body, but learn to be proud of it and shower with appropriate love and care. The more they respect themselves, the less likely they are to be exposed to other body craves.