Teens struggle with body image more than any other age group. A lot of this is due to the many changes their body undergoes and the adjustment from child to emerging adult. In order to encourage your child to have a healthier body image, consider doing the following:
Help them develop their qualities: a lot of times problems with body image stem from a general lack of self-confidence. If you want to improve their body image, and help them have a healthier outlook on their body, then help them improve their self-confidence in every area of their life. One of the best ways to do this is support them in developing their talents. If your teen can find something they are good at, and thrive at, and can latch on to it, they will learn to like themselves better, and that will spread to everything, including their body. When they feel smarter, more athletic, or talented in something, they will start to find things about their image that they like as well.
Your teen’s self-image is important.
Be accepting of your child: Teens struggle with acceptance. The social dynamic starts to change when girls get breasts, boys’ voices get deeper, etc. Jealousy, rivalries, etc. kick in, and friendships start to change. Your child may struggle with their body image because they are struggling to fit in, in general. They may think if they had longer hair, tanner skin, or some other difference in their body they would be more popular, more girls or more boys would like them, and they would be happier. Help your child learn to love themselves as they are by loving them for them. When your child says they wish they had this or that different about their body, tell them what you love about their body. Be accepting of them, and help them be more accepting of themselves. Help them to play up their assets. If your child has great eyes for example, but could stand to lose some weight, instead of focusing on their need to lose weight, tell them how beautiful their eyes are, if they are a girl teach them to apply make up to accentuate that. If they are a boy, help them get a hair cut that compliments their eyes and makes them the focus.
Educate your child about their body changes: Kids will have a better body image if they understand the changes in their body better. Your child may think they are ugly because they have bad acne, but when they learn about what causes acne, then they can see it as a natural process, rather than as something wrong with them that makes them ugly. Most teens do not think quite so rationally, but information can help them feel better about their body. As their body changes, instead of thinking of themselves as gross or that their body is weird or awkward, they will appreciate the changes more, and grow to appreciate their body.