How do you advice your kid be blessed and defended in a media-heavy, appearance-obsessed culture?
How’s this for a alarming statistic: Studies appearance that kids as adolescent as 5 say they don’t like their bodies.
Common Faculty Media’s survey of body-image research shows that parents comedy a huge role in abstraction how kids anticipate and feel about their bodies. Starting to bolster kids’ anatomy angel early, even in preschool, can accomplish a big aberration in how kids feel about themselves as they abound up.
Here are bristles means to immunize your kids adjoin poor anatomy image, with chat starters, media picks, and assets to abutment your discussions.
1. Abstain stereotypes in your kids’ media — starting back kids are in preschool.
Look for TV shows, movies, and added media that portray advantageous anatomy sizes and abstain sexualized or academic storylines or gendered characters, such as adolescent girls in architecture or boys who are consistently macho.
- Pay absorption to kids’ behavior about gender and anatomy types, and use simple accent to deflate stereotypes: “What do you anticipate Andy would like for his birthday? Trucks? Do you anticipate he’d like dolls, too?”
- Whenever possible, use gender-neutral or gender-diverse pronouns to advertence characters, animals, and so on. For example, not every anachronistic is a “he” and every kitten a “she.”
2. Alarm out stereotypes when you see them.
When you see gender stereotypes in media — for example, during antic contest such as the Cool Bowl — talk about them.
- As abundant as possible, abbreviate acknowledgment to academic depictions of men and women, but back kids see them, authenticate that analytic how men and women are portrayed is admired (and alike fun). Ask: “Do you anticipate she’s algid in that bikini?”
- Teach kids how annual and announcement photos are afflicted by computers to accomplish bark attending smoother or bodies attending taller. Accomplish a bold out of it: Spot the Photoshop!
3. Claiming assumptions.
Ask kids what they anticipate about beefy or abbreviate toys or characters on TV and in movies. Accumulate an ear out for kids cogent assumptions about absolute bodies based on their anatomy sizes.
- Remind kids that bodies appear in all shapes and sizes (even Barbie now offers admeasurement and indigenous variety!) — alike if they don’t see that on TV — and that array is normal, healthy, and allotment of what makes activity interesting.
- Tap into preschoolers’ adeptness to empathize by allurement how they anticipate a TV actualization acquainted back criticized for his or her appearance. Ask: “How would you feel if addition teased you like that?”
4. Ban “fat talk” in your family.
Parents — abnormally mothers — who accuse about their appearances or bodies, alike casually, accomplish a big appulse on how their kids anticipate about their bodies.
- Model a absolute attitude against your own body, and animate kids to anticipate absolutely about what their bodies can do. Ask: “What can you do with those able arms?”
- Discuss bloom instead of weight or size. Ask: “How does your anatomy feel back you comedy sports/exercise/run around?” Say: “My anatomy feels so active back I eat advantageous food.”
FACTS: According to Accepted Faculty Media’s Children, Teens, Media, and Anatomy Image, kids who anticipate their moms don’t like their bodies end up not affection their own bodies. And girls whose dads are analytical of their weight tend to anticipate of themselves as beneath physically able than those whose dads don’t.
5. Focus on behavior, talents, and actualization ancestry instead of concrete admeasurement or appearance.
When discussing fabulous characters, celebrities, and accompany and family, allocution about what they do, not what they attending like.
- Talk about qualities such as kindness, curiosity, and backbone that you amount added than appearance. Ask: “What makes a acceptable friend?” Say: “She charge accept accomplished for a continued time to be acceptable at dancing!”
- Prepare kids for back they apprehend others commenting, comparing, or criticizing bodies or appearance. Role-play situations area kids can try out altered responses, such as, “I don’t affliction what she looks like. She’s friendly, and that’s what affairs to me.”
This commodity originally appeared on commonsensemedia.org