A lot is written and discussed about fostering positive body image but it's just as important to know how to spot the early signs of negative body image in your child.
We all want our children to have a healthy and positive body image but depending on their temperament, the other young people they spend time with and a myriad of other things, it might not work out exactly as you’d hoped.
So, what should you do? There are lots of things you can do to promote a positive body image – click here to read them.
However, if you’re not sure how your child is feeling, the best thing to do is be observant and when the time is right, have a chat with them about body image, social media and anything else that comes up in conversation.
Here are some of the early signs of negative body image…
- Making negative comments about their body
- General unhappiness
- Spending more time on their own
- Making frequent comments about how other people look or comparing themselves to others e.g. wishing they looked like celebrities or other people
- Refusing favourite foods or mentioning calories or fat content of foods
- Spending more time at the mirror and seeming unhappy with what they see
- Getting upset when trying on or buying new clothes
- Talking about dieting or starting to eat less at meals
- Exercising obsessively or changing to ‘appearance focused’ exercise to change their body such as weight lifting
- Linking guilt to food and talking about good or bad foods
- Choosing to follow a special diet to gain more control over what they eat – e.g. becoming vegan, going sugar-free or gluten-free.
If you are concerned that your child may be developing a negative body image or an eating disorder, take heart that there are plenty of supports available.