3 Early Warning Signs That Your Child Is Developing Body Image Issues

April 21, 2017

3 Early Warning Signs That Your Child Is Developing Body Image Issues

According to the Child Mind Institute's Children's Mental Health Report, approximately 50% of all psychiatric illnesses, including depression, eating disorders, and even body dysmorphic disorder, develop before age 14.

For parents, it might seem like there's nothing to be done about it, but here are some early warning signs of body image issues that you should be looking for.

Your child focuses heavily on physical imperfections
In an age where the Internet reigns supreme, it can be easy for a young child to become caught up in coverage of celebrities' "perfect" bodies and faces on social media. As a result, children and teens compare themselves to highly edited images and base self-worth solely on how conventionally attractive they are.

Your child starts talking about dieting
If a child hears adults talking about dieting and sees media coverage of celebrity diets, they're going to start thinking that it's normal. In reality, dieting is often marketed as a way to make "wrong" bodies look "right" again, which is a mentality that could really harm your child. Yet again, social media can make the issue worse. Check up on your child's accounts if they have any and be on the lookout for any content related to eating disorders.

Working out has suddenly become top priority
There's nothing wrong with a child wanting to get outside and play, but there comes a time to draw the line between healthy activities and actively pushing to change your body. Exercise should be associated with things that are fun, just as think balls in play therapy might be. If your child starts obsessing over exercise because they feel unattractive, you need to take the time to address that issue.

How can you help your child?
The first step is to actively talk about what your child sees in the media every day. It's important to help them understand that what they're seeing isn't necessarily reality, it's often an edited fiction.

If your child's body image issues shave developed further and you're not sure what to do, seek out psychiatric help. Child therapy professionals will have essential therapy tools for children such as think balls, therapeutic card games, language of emotions posters, and other important tools to help your child understand and work through their struggles.

Make sure you're actively looking for these signs and taking appropriate steps to help your child work through them.



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