Healthy Self-Image in Children
The Cleveland Clinic describes self-image as “the personal view, or mental picture, we have of ourselves.” If we are all honest with ourselves, we probably do not have a very positive mental picture of ourselves. Whether it is our weight, hair color, eye color, height, or even intelligence, we are all critical about some aspect of our self-image. Even the most confident people have something about themselves they do not enjoy. So, despite all of this negativity, how do we teach our children to have a healthy self-image?
The Family’s Influence on Self-Image
Children are greatly influenced by those around them and what they are saying whether or not it is in regards to the child or the person themselves. If someone whom the child greatly respects makes negative statements about their own self-image or a characteristic of the child, this can impact the child for the rest of his or her life. According to PsycologyToday.com, children are attuned to everything their parents say and do and this shapes their self-image. Parents must first learn to have a healthy self-image about themselves in order to encourage their child to do the same.
The Media’s Influence on Self-Image
The media has a significant roll in the development of a child’s self-image. If the child is constantly filled with unrealistic images, this will impose on their mind a negative self-image. KidsHealth.org states the powerful impact celebrities have on children and their ideas of what to do, wear, eat, and so on. Helping children navigate and decipher what is realistic in the world of media and celebrities can help create a healthier self-image.
What You Can Do To Help
Encouraging your children in all they do, whether they succeed or fail, can help them create a healthy self-image. HealthyChildren.org tells parents to provide positive feedback and recognition in a genuine sense to the child in all circumstances. Try encouraging your children and their specific traits by saying for example, “Thank you for sharing with your sister today! You are so generous!” or “I am so proud of you and how hard you studied for that test! No matter the grade you receive, I am proud of how hard you worked.”
Creating a healthy self-image in our children at a young age can have a huge impact on how they see themselves in the future. Think of all the encouragement and positive feedback you are providing now as an investment into their future.