Yup, you read it right. Some of our words can actually hurt a child. People might think that if they throw a body-shaming to a kid, the kid will not have any hard feelings over it. What if I tell you that they do feel hurt when you call them fat?
“I’m so fat.” “I’m ugly.” Words like these may be upsetting to hear when they come from a 10-year-old or a teenager, but it can be bothersome when kids speak them from as young as preschool or kindergarten age.
Various research has shown that kids may begin to worry about body weight and physical appearance as early as age 3 to 5 and that many young children express unhappiness about their bodies.
Children as young as three have body image issues, and some four-year-olds even know how to go on a diet, a survey by childcare professionals found.
“You are fat; I cannot even fold my arm around you now.”
Wow. Can you imagine what that can do to a kid?
What is body image?
Body image is a broad concept that refers to the way people think and feels about their appearance. It encompasses ideas about size and shape, skin colour, birthmarks, scars, facial features, clothing and adornments related to personal religious beliefs, physical disabilities, and the use of equipment and aids like prostheses or wheelchairs.
There is a range of factors that contribute to a child’s body image, and messages from family members, other important adults, peers and the media all play a significant role.
Research has found that mothers who often talk about dieting or engage in criticism of their bodies can negatively impact their daughters.
Four ways to help your children deal with body image issues
Accept your kids for whoever they are. After all, they resemble your appearance, and you know that. If they do think they are not pretty like other kids, try to comfort them.
2. Mind your word.
Avoid criticising how your kid looks. We might think that they are just kids, they don’t even have hard feelings towards our words, but no, they do understand everything that we said. Avoid saying negative words to them. Negative words can hurt them more than you think!
3. Teach your children to be media-savvy.
Teach them that not everyone in the media is perfect as it seems. They have been edited out to look perfect. Remember, nobody is perfect in this world.
4. Broaden the definition of “Beautiful.”
Beautiful is a subjective word. Some of us think that having fat and plump body is the definition of beautiful, but some of us feel the other way. Train your children to see beauty in everything and not just a perfect body or a flawless face.
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