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Feb. 5, 2022

6: Body image, and how to help your teenager develop a positive one. Also, getting your teenager to do chores.

6: Body image, and how to help your teenager develop a positive one. Also, getting your teenager to do chores.

A healthy body image: Feeling happy and satisfied with your body and what it can do. 

An unhealthy body image: Highly self-critical, comparing their body to others and obsessing about some aspect of it. 

Beauty and body image are universal triggers for shame. Shame is a deeply painful sensation from the belief that we’re not good enough and will not be accepted by a group.


  • Family environment,
  • Ability/disability
  • Attitudes of peers
  • Social media
  • Cultural background  

Only 5% of American women have the body type that advertising depicts as ideal. People magazine poll found that 80% of women respondents felt insecure when they viewed images of women in TV and films. There’s an entire industry fueling our negative feelings regarding body image.

How to prevent body image issues as a parent:

Psychologists Jean Baker Miller and Irene Stiver 1997 study said that what gives us self-esteem (the opposite of shame) isn’t a terrific outfit or success, it’s forming and maintaining relationships which makes people feel sure of their value. 

  • Talk to your teenager about images in social media. Help them to see how fake they are and how digital manipulation is rife, also how everyone doesn’t look like that. 
  • Praise your teenager for what they can do, not what they look like. 
  • Sharing the knowledge that shame is a normal experience helps the teenager feel that they aren’t alone. 
  • Be kind to yourself. Expecting perfection from ourselves makes us expect it from others. 
  • Be proud of things about yourself that aren’t about your appearance.
  • Avoid negative talk about your diet/crash diets.
  • As a parent, be proud of what your body can do.

What to look out for:

  • The teenager belongs to a group that insists on a certain body type.
  • Perfectionism.
  • Continually comparing their body to someone else.
  • Not wanting to leave the house, or try new things, because of the way they look.
  • Obsessing about weight, or a part of their body.
  • Spending a lot of time looking in the mirror for imperfections.
  • Linking food with feelings of guilt or shame.
  • Strange eating habits.

What to do

  • Talk with your child about what you’ve noticed. Don’t dismiss it.
  • There are some excellent self-help books. 
  • Seek professional help early. 

The Body is Not an Apology by Sonya Renee Taylor 
I Thought it was just me by Brené Brown


Household duties develop a sense of purpose. Lack of purpose is one of the most reported problems in suicidal people. Teens are capable of doing practically any household duty and gives them a sense of belonging to the family team.

The Gift of Failure Jessica Lahey: Children prefer parents who hold them responsible for not meeting expectations over those who monitor their children. 

  • Assign tasks ahead of time, weekly/daily, whether using a formal chart or an informal agreement. 
  • Show them how to do it.
  • Don’t take over when they make a mess, or are too slow. Help them e

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