If your child has negative body image, then parent coaching is a great solution.
Almost all of our kids have poor body image. However, this isn’t because we’re bad parents – it’s mainly a function of our society. But yes, you as a parent can help your child improve their body image. You can even help them avoid a major body image crisis. And that’s a good thing. Because body hate can lead to anxiety, depression, and eating disorders.
When your child has poor body image you may feel helpless. It can seem as if there is no hope. This is mainly because most parents try to address poor body image by assuring their child that they are beautiful. However, this keeps the focus on the child’s body.
Unfortunately, this natural and instinctive approach backfires. Our kids simply don’t believe us when we tell them they are beautiful. A superficial, body-based response to poor body image misses the crux of the issue. Above all, poor body image is emotional and psychological, not physical.
It’s also a fact that almost all of us parents have our own body image issues and internalized weight stigma. Our beliefs about weight, health, and bodies can impact our kids’ ability to feel good about theirs.
But don’t worry! You don’t have to love your own body to raise a body-positive child. We’ll just work towards body neutrality or body acceptance.
Quiz: Take a minute to explore whether you are a Body Positive Parent.
Lots of beautiful people have poor body image
There are millions of people whose bodies are perfectly fine but who deeply believe there is something wrong with them. They spend hours each day trying to achieve perfection. However, these hours are wasted, because perfection is an illusion.
Poor body image is not about a person’s objective attractiveness, thinness, or beauty. It’s about how the person feels about who they are as a person and how the world perceives them.
This is the shift that parents need to make to help their children develop healthy body image.
Raising a child who has positive body image is harder than it needs to be. This is due to the fact that we have a $70B diet industry. It’s dedicated to promoting unhealthy behaviors and unattainable beauty ideals. Therefore, parents who raise body-positive kids must actively counteract the powerful societal messages. These messages tell us that our bodies are never good enough. But they are!
Coaching can help
Parent coaching for poor body image is a way for you to learn about what body image really is. And what it’s not. We can explore your underlying beliefs about bodies and attractiveness. You’ll learn what your child actually needs from you right now to be healthy for life.
You can share your fears – if you have any – about your child’s weight. We’ll review weight science and and work on any weight stigma you have. We’ll also come up with practical solutions and scripts to help you navigate body image with your child.
Parent coaching is a solution-oriented approach to helping your child have a positive body image. With coaching you will have access to:
🌟 Information: Find out what it means to have positive body image. Learn how you can help your child have a better body image.
🌟 Understanding: Learn about weight science and the societal forces that have created a culture of body hate.
🌟 Scripts: Get some help learning how to talk to your child about their body. Above all, know how not to talk to your child about their body.
🌟 Techniques: Learn about the science-backed approaches of Health at Every Size® and Intuitive Eating
🌟 Recommendations: Get recommendations for articles, books, and resources. These will help you build up your child’s body image.
Parent coaching can make an immediate impact on your ability to support your child’s body image. This goes beyond “Body Positivity” and gets to the heart of how our children feel about who they are. Most parents feel more confident in just a few sessions. Of course we can continue working together beyond that point. And I can always stay “on call” and be available for you as needed.
Our cruel society
Our society is cruel to bodies. Therefore, even when parents feel good about their own bodies and their kids’ bodies, our kids are surrounded by body shaming. It’s actually more normal to have poor body image than it is to feel good about your body!
Poor body image often begins early. Some Kindergarteners are already willing to trade playtime and beloved toys in exchange for being thin. It’s a sad state of affairs, but luckily parents can help.
If you’re seeing signs that your child is developing poor body image, don’t worry! We can start working on that right now! What you say and how you behave can make a huge impact on your child’s body image.
But what about health?
Most parents agree they want kids to have healthy body image. However, lots of parents are afraid of the health implications. There is a lot of noise about the fact that being in a larger body is unhealthy.
But did you know that the science behind that is actually very thin? For instance, there is very little to show that higher weight is directly linked to poor health. Additionally, while health behaviors (enough sleep, human connection, movement and nutrition) are modifiable, weight is often not something we can change.
Weight science is a lot more complicated than we think it is. But one thing is definitely true: kids who have parents who worry about their weight are less healthy and larger than kids whose parents don’t do this. In other words, weight isn’t the worst thing for your child. But even more important, if you actually want a smaller child, then don’t talk about weight like it’s a bad thing.
It’s complicated. That’s why coaching is so helpful. Parents want to do the right thing. And I can help you sort through your beliefs and feelings about weight so that you can do what is actually healthy for your kid.
I assure you that a weight-neutral approach is more healthy for your child. But that doesn’t mean you should force-feed donuts and potato chips.
Importantly, having a positive body image does not mean you don’t care for your body. Instead, it means that you care for it from a place of empowerment rather than punishment.
Ginny Jones is on a mission to help parents raise kids who are free from eating disorders and body hate.
She’s the editor of More-Love.org and a Parent Coach who helps parents handle their kids’ food and body issues.