Image by freepik

Children shouldn’t be shamed for eating what they love and enjoying their bodies. However, with the influence of social media, body positivity in children has become a challenge.

Social media’s ever-evolving landscape typically feeds off people’s standards and desires. Many individuals have turned to platforms to validate themselves and reinforce their worth. This may pose no danger to some as they satiate this by simply being themselves. But to a fraction of the population, they often cheat themselves and their audience to feel validated.

With how visual people are coupled with their desire to be commended, there’s a booming problem revolving around unrealistic beauty and body standards. It’s a global issue where, for them to be praised and liked, individuals alter their photos to better fit or exceed other’s standards. This may seem harmless. After all, they’re only editing themselves to feel better about what they have and what they think they lack. But often, what’s seemingly inoffensive brings the most trouble.

Not only will this lead to further discontent for the doer, but it can also lead to body image issues for the audience.

On Discussions of Body Image

The belief that one’s body is valuable and beautiful is gradually thinning in today’s generation. Fed by unrealistic image standards and platforms encouraging comparisons and discontent, people have slowly become accustomed to scrutinizing their bodies.

With this, body positivity has found its spotlight, especially among adolescents. This crowd is the most susceptible to the adverse effects of the current social media trends.

People have easy and immediate access to a point of comparison on social media. With how easy it is to cheat and edit images, anyone can make themselves appear more “aesthetically attractive” to boost their digital confidence. But this can negatively impact others.

a photo of a mother showing how easy it is to teach body positivity in children | Image by prostooleh on Freepik

With the rise of this mentally detrimental pattern of comparison and envy, there are also people advocating against it. The good thing is that while people can be easily swayed by jealousy spotlighting what they lack, they are also susceptible to encouragement. It takes time and consistency, but it’s relatively easy to motivate adults into burying their body issues.

Unfortunately, they aren’t the only demographic susceptible to this.

How Does Body Image Affect Children?

Body positivity in children is as essential as it is for adults. It’s been found that body dissatisfaction commonly caused by weight concerns is already common in children. As young as 3, some children may already develop the urge to lose weight.

Beyond their exposure to social media, shaping their ideals based on what or who is famous, children mimic the behaviors of adults. If they hear the older crowd talk negatively or criticize their bodies too much, they may be influenced to practice similar negative self-perceptions toward themselves. Awareness of their bodies and scrutinizing these can start as early as childhood.

As children grow, they require high self-esteem and belief in themselves to survive the chaotic “real life.” If they are dissatisfied with their bodies from the get-go, it can be challenging to build confidence so that they can unlock their potential. This is precisely why it’s important to promote body positivity in children, not only for them to love themselves more but also for them to believe in what they can be.

Body positivity is crucial as it’s associated with a reduced risk of depression and dieting problems, which may lead to more severe complications in the future. With this, body positivity in children is critical to ensure they grow happy and know their worth from a young age.

How to Promote Body Positivity in Children?

Fortunately, society has gradually become safer for children. More and more people are advocating body positivity, teaching everyone to love their bodies and the wonders they do. From this, children will learn to love what they have and embrace every “flaw” society may point out.

a photo of a boy showing how society has broken children’s body image | Image by freepik

Many might still question, “Why is body positivity important?” The answer varies from person to person. When it comes to children, this is important. Fostering a positive body image and self-identity is vital in ensuring they develop correctly. The moment they question their worth, how they view life instantly plummets. In fact, many materials have reinforced this idea, such as the children’s book about physical appearances by Chris Cochrane.

So, what else can adults do to promote body positivity in children?

Change the narrative about food

While it’s important to teach children about what’s healthy and what’s not, it may be best to do so by keeping food neutral. Parents shouldn’t label them as good or bad. They shouldn’t also force them to eat more of one thing because of its benefits. Instead, they should simply practice balancing the food their children consume without restricting what they’re allowed to eat. If parents deem the food unhealthy but children want it, they should still be allowed to eat it but in moderation.

In addition, children shouldn’t be forced to finish what’s on their table. Body positivity in children also involves a healthy body guidance system. They should know when they’re hungry and full. This can only develop when they’re allowed to eat at their own pace. Children shouldn’t be made to feel that food is a reward or has linked consequences. Parents should reframe how they present food to their children.

If you want to know how Chris Cochrane tackles body positivity in children in his book, grab a copy of The Dinglehopper Blueberry Belly-Button Snooter.