Over 13.7 million children are classified as obese and children as young as 2 years old can be affected. As we all know, to be overweight can increase our risk of being exposed to a variety of health issues, but sometimes we neglect the fact that being overweight can affect a child’s confidence and self-esteem as well.
A child’s concerns about weight and appearances can develop as early as elementary school. And, your child probably thinks about the way their body looks, even if they don’t express it with you.
Both boys and girls, regardless of age, all want to fit in and sometimes a way of fitting in can be to look good or to look just like their friends, which is normal, but when questions arise like “Am I fat?” or “Why can’t I look like the girls in the magazines?” it can be a sign of low self-esteem, which can affect their mood, school work and the choices they make in life.
How to Boost Your Child’s Self-esteem?
There’s a lot you can do to help your child feel more confident. Try these simple steps to help boost your child’s self-esteem while encouraging them to make healthier choices.
Be the Change You Want to See in Your Child
You are the first person your child sees in the morning and the last person they see at night. Your child looks up to you and imitates your actions. Try your best to refrain from using negative remarks about your weight because your child can pick up on this same attitude.
Instead, foster healthy habits such as allowing your child to cook meals with you or taking your child on weekly hikes to encourage them and help notice the how good it feels to take care of their body.
Listen to Your Child When They Speak Negatively About Themselves
When your child says something negative about themselves, your first instinct may be to disagree with a statement like, “No, you’re not.” While this isn’t wrong, this type of response doesn’t really help your child when they’re already feeling bad.
Instead, listen to them, acknowledge how they are feeling and calmly respond with questions like, “What makes you feel that way?” By doing this, you’re able to have a deeper conversation with your child and help them get to the root of their issue while also revealing other problems like bullying or body image that can contribute to low self-esteem.
Pay Attention to What Your Child Is Watching and Watch With Them
Everywhere you look, whether it’s on a phone, television or a computer, there are plenty of images and media coverage of what’s beautiful and cool and sometimes these superficial images can make a child feel bad about themselves.
Although you can’t always shield your child from what they see on the TV screens, you can talk to them about it and help them see that they don’t have to look like celebrities or models in order to be beautiful or cool.
A Compliment Can Go a Long Way
A child’s confidence stems from their parents’ approval. Compliments can make your child feel good about themselves. It’s OK to occasionally compliment your child on the way they look, but the compliments don’t have to be solely on appearance. Let them know how nice they are and how well they can kick a soccer ball. Make an effort to mostly praise them for their achievements and abilities.
The content of this Website is for informational purposes only, is general in nature and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease, and does not constitute professional advice. The information on this Website should not be considered as complete and does not cover all diseases, ailments, physical conditions, or their treatment. You should consult with your physician before beginning any exercise, weight loss, or health care program and/or any of the beauty treatments.
Helping Your Child Who is Overweight. (2016, September 01). Retrieved from https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/weight-management/helping-your-child-who-is-overweight