My daughter told me her friend says she isn’t smiling any more. Apparently some other children told her that her lips curls up and you can see too much of her teeth and she looks funny in photos. My daughter is eight.
It’s so sad that little girls are worrying about their selfies at this age and it makes me so angry. All of us, parents and teachers, have a responsibility to promote positive body images and encourage our children to see that there is more to life than how they look. In the end looks fade but intelligence, kindness and friendship don’t.
We need to educate children to understand the impact negative comments make on others and how they can last a lifetime. Social media makes children so much more vulnerable to pressures and as the recent research by the Children’s Commissioner ‘life in likes’ shows that it’s not just my eight year old and her friends that are worried about how they look and what others think about their appearances. Sadly, it’s become a national problem.
There has always been pressure on young people about their appearance, that’s not new but social media has increased that pressure tenfold, no other generation has experienced this. Social media isn’t going away so we need to work with our children to help them boost their self-esteem and resilience. No eight year old should stop smiling.
Tips to help our young people with their body image:
- be careful what you say about your own weight and appearance and the expressions you use to describe yourself and others
- encourage empathy in your child; teach them the impact hurtful comments have on others
- Show them images of celebrities before and after photo editing – nobody is perfect!
- educate your children about puberty and the natural changes their bodies will go through
If you are interested in learning more about how to become a counsellor in a school or how to help young people, why not come along to our 5 week Introduction to Counselling course. Our 5-week Introduction to Counselling course located in Leigh on Sea, Essex, starting on 18th April 2018. It is a perfect way to find out more about the skills and knowledge counsellors need and discover if this rewarding and challenging career is right for you. The course will introduce you to basic counselling skills, the theories behind them and will help enhance your own communication skills too.
Written by Best for Training