Kids have it pretty hard these days, there's pressure at younger ages to look a certain way. With the obesity rates at 20.5%, and overweight at 34.5% in 2011-2012 based on National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) data, what's a parent to do in order to prevent negative self image? Reality is, a negative self perception is likely only serves to further promote weight gain, more negative self image, and more weight gain...it's a vicious cycle.
There is a positive here, folks. research demonstrates that parents who foster a positive attitude, and actively show their children qualities of resilience and optimism make dramatic differences in promoting a healthy lifestyle that, literally, continues into adulthood.
Consider these tips to foster optimism and resistance in your kid. It will not only help him or her mentally and emotionally feel better, it will also keep your kid on track to have a long healthy life.
1) Encourage your children to go outside and participate in group activities.
Kids these days are more prone to staying inside. We can thanks computers, TV, ipads and cell phone for this one. BUT, as a parent you do have some clout here. Take your kids outside, play in the grass and engage with your kids to show them how to interact with others. Kids who are more social are better equipped to deal with life stressors.
2) Have upbeat conversations about the future.
Assume your kid is going to make a difference, let them know you believe in them. Kids who are raised believing they're capable will be so.
3) Be a role model of perseverance.
Be sure to your kid hears and sees you working through life's difficulties. Demonstrate how you can handle it! Kids who see their parents work though difficult times, learn how to work through their own difficulties.
4) Laugh together, a lot.
Families that can joke, laugh, and lighten up their day with humor can prevent negativity and tension.
5) Believe in your kid.
I know it's obvious, right? But so easily to forget showing it. Assure your kid that you are on their side, that you expect him or her to be the best person they can be and not perfect.