Self image as a concept has to do with one's views about one's self - body weight, size, capabilities, etc.
Research studies in child development show that self image (good or bad) is triggered by a number of factors and at times sets in as early as preschool. It lasts through a life time. As a parent, teacher, guardian or an elder generally, you have the responsibility of promoting positive self image in children across various ages.
So what are the indicators a child has positive or negative self image? You might love to know.
The child with positive self image:
- She has a positive image of herself
- She feels more confident she'll succeed in all she does
- She feels very comfortable at most occasions
- She's not obsessed with her weight, calories or foods
- She enjoys physical activites as she has the needed energy
The child with negative self image:
- She's very self conscious
- She's often isolated
- She's always anxious
- She's prone to have eating disorders
- There're high chances she'll develop excess weight gain
As an elder (parent, guardian, teacher), you can help build positive self image in growing kids through diferent ways.
Consider the following:
As a parent, do you have self image issues?
A parent's views of him/herself has great influence on the kids. If you have a positive self image, the tendency is that your kids would develop a positive self image too. The reverse is the case of course if you have a negative self image. You see, kids tend to pick up whatever they see or sense in adults. You are obsessed with your body, right? You complain a lot about your weight, your strenuous workout at the gym, your dieting, etc. Be set for the inevitable. Coz your kids are sure to get thinking in same pattern: worrying about their bodies and how to slim down with gym and dieting!
So what do you do?
Simply strive to avoid this situation by always finding good ways to talk about your body whenever they're around.
Cease your obsession on weight; consider health in general
As much as possible, you should focus more on enjoyable physical activites and nutritous foods for the family, and not on how weighty or slim you or other family members are. Nutrition and fitness supply us with the energy to do tasks. Kids need play often with friends and family and not obsessed with workouts. They shouldn't be counting calories and restricting diet. Teach them how to get energy they need to lead active lives. Let them enjoy regular meals and healthy snack choices.
Help your kids keep fit by encouraging them to engage in good physiscal activities
The physical activists they engage in should be something that they love doing. It could be sports, dancing, walking, yoga, riding a bike, etc. These activites help them stay capable and strong - an important aspect of a positive self image.
Be on the lookout for bullies
Weight-related teasing is common among peers. However, this is not good as it might injure the other party's self image, and so should not be encouraged. Watch out for when your kid is bullied and address it immediately. It could occur at your child's school among his schoolmates, playmates, etc. In such a case, approach the school administrator and voice your concerns. Advocate their suppport for nutrition and physical education that is healthy for kids of all shapes.
Building in kids a positive self image is one of the greatest gifts we can ever bequeath them.
Let us together build a generation of capable, strong, and fearless kids with positive self image.