It is alarming that children as young as three worry about being “fat.” Appearance-related bullying (specially using animation) has become widespread among pre-schoolers these days.
Who do we blame? Everyone! The “ideal” body image has become so prominent in our lifestyles that the message is being actively perpetuated by friends and families, media and marketing and pretty much everywhere. How do you shield your child from being exposed to children’s media that is so body-image obsessed? There are beauty apps where you can slim your body and widen your eyes, internet games where the heroic character is muscular& attractive and characters that are depicted with hefty body figure, or likely have disfigurement.
How do you avoid the “ideal” body image that comes from parents who obsess over diets and looks-focused make-up? Parents play a significant role in building a positive body image and self-esteem in children. The way you smirk looking in the mirror, the weight loss diets you get on to and the importance you place on how looks matter, all of it will influence your child. Mind it; boys suffer from body image consciousness, too! Research says that under-weighted boys are more likely to get into depression than over-weighed girls.
• Don’t project that you are on diet because eating makes you fat. Do inculcate healthy diet habits
• Don’t show that you exercise to lose weight. Do talk about exercising to stay fit
• Don’t talk about wanting to look attractive, young or appealing. Do talk about how our bodies are different
• Don’t set angles of being photographed so that your bulges are not seen. Do capture beautiful moments of life with your child
• Don’t criticize your looks in front of the mirror. Do smile and gracefully carry your body
• Don’t measure your food. Do allow your child to eat his/her stomach full and satisfaction
• Don’t focus/praise someone on outer appearance. Do focus on developing inner attributes in your child
• Don’t skip meals. Do show your children the importance and stipulation to eat three meals a day
• Don’t make stringent diet plans for your child. Do educate your children on good food choices that help him/her grow strong
• Don’t choose role model based on appearances. Do admire someone based on their attitude, attributes, and their good works
Ps: Steer clear the conversation from appearance ideals back to having a healthy body and how what we see on TV and image-based media are different from reality.