4 Tips To Promote Body Positivity in Tweens

Date

January 30, 2024

Reading Time

6mins

 

The tween years (from about 9-12 years old) are the age during which your child will learn body image lessons that they’ll carry with them for the rest of their life. For parents trying to set their child up with healthy body image standards, this means that what you say and do during this impressionable window matters.

Follow these 4 tips to promote body positivity in your tween:

1. Be a good role model.

The best thing you can do to instill body positivity into your tween is to embody those values yourself. Even if you’re saying all of the right things, your tween will naturally pick up on your behavior and mimic it. Try to follow body positivity practices like wearing functional clothing that makes you feel comfortable and confident, as opposed to constantly dressing up in the latest trends that are not practical or functional for many body types. This will put focus on function rather than physical appearance and encourage your tween to seek out clothes that make them feel good as opposed to clothes that conform to short-lived and impractical trends. Additionally, speak body positively all of the time, not just when your tween is listening. Your outlook will get back to them when you least expect it, which is why it’s important to fully adopt body positivity, not just when your tween is around.

2. Focus on what the body does, not how it looks.

Promote gratitude for what our bodies do for us, and encourage habits that will help your teen take care of their body. Give compliments on the function and health of body parts, not how they look. Instead of saying, “Your legs look great in those pants,” frame your compliment as, “You have such strong legs,” or something else that highlights what the body part is used for. Additionally, avoid compliments or criticism that focus on how skinny or not-skinny your tween appears to be. Remember, skinny does not always mean healthy, and you want to put an emphasis on health and function, not appearance. Always focus on your tween as a whole person, too. Compliments on non-physical attributes are welcome as well, such as celebrating moments of compassion and intelligence in your tween’s life.

3.Talk to them about online beauty standards.

Your tween is almost definitely on social media, whether you like it or not, so it’s important to address the harmful beauty standards that they scroll through every morning when they wake up, every night before they go to bed, and in many of their waking moments in between. While you might not be able to prevent your tween from seeing images of ultra-skinny influencers and supermodels, you can frame them in a healthy way. Make sure your tween knows that these are not the beauty standards that are expected of them, and that their bodies are beautiful the way they are. Encourage your tweens to build self-esteem from offline activities such as socializing, exercise, or arts and crafts to remind them the world exists outside of social media.

4. Give your tween a script to respond to body shaming.

Unfortunately, body shaming happens. Since your tween will undoubtedly face it, empower them by giving them a script to respond to body shaming. Offer them a range of responses to choose from, like “I’m happy with my body, and that’s all that matters” or “You’re being mean and inappropriate” so they don’t have to come up with a response on the spot. Ensure your tween knows that you’ll have their back if the body shaming comes from a position of authority, such as a teacher or coach. Your tween should know that it’s never okay for an adult to body shame someone, and that you’ll always step in and have their back. This way, your tween will never be afraid to share their experiences with you, and you can help them handle these situations the right way.

 

Take advantage of this impressionable age by proactively steering your tween into a body positive lifestyle. Your tween should understand that mental health is just as important as physical health, and that there is always a high road to take in the face of body shaming.

Check out our blog for more tips on body positivity and self-love.

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