While we all want to be body positive warriors, you sometimes can’t help those lingering feelings of deep-seated insecurities that plague you. According to a study from Yahoo Health of 1,993 women and teens age 13 to 64, feelings of body insecurity can begin from as young as nine or 10 years of age. The study also found that the younger the generation bracket, the earlier the insecurities. While the average American recalls those feelings first striking around age 13 or 14, it’s actually the teens who are currently aged 13 to 17 who recall feeling anxiety about their looks around age nine or 10. And the number one culprit for self-consciousness is (surprise, surprise) pressure from peers, celebs and even social media, which accounted for 60 percent of those initial feelings of shame. But as ubiquitous as insecurities seem, it’s not all hopeless.
With so much hyper-sexualization in the media, preventing young girls and teens from feeling insecurities might seem like fighting a losing battle. According to Dr. Robyn Silverman, a Child Development Specialist who spoke to Yahoo Parenting, there are things you can do to help.
First of all, you can help “peel back the curtain” by showing teens photos of celebs when they’re going makeup-free or walking out of a gym. This can help them realize that those photoshopped magazine covers aren’t real. Another thing you could do is implement what Dr. Silverman calls a “fat-talk”-free zone in the home. It means pretty much exactly what you think it means: no talking about dieting or weight gain and no shaming. Children are like sponges, and “parents need to be very conscious about what they’re saying in front of their kids,” Dr. Silverman says.
We all have insecurities that plague us, and likely, despite your best efforts, your kids will have ’em too. However, having an advocate who is always on their side and willing to help them sort through their problems might be the best gift you could give your kids.
Do you have any advice on how parents might help their children out with feelings of insecurity? Tweet us @BritandCo!
(h/t Yahoo, photo via Getty)