Our most important lessons are learned from our parents. At our youngest ages we aren’t aware that we have a choice to either believe and internalize the lessons we get from our parents, or not to. Lessons about self-worth and body image are some of the most critical lessons a child learns from their parents, thereby learning lessons about themselves. Poor demonstrations of body image and self worth can result in low self-esteem, body image issues, and the development of other mental health related problems throughout childhood and later in life.
CNN reports on the effect mothers’ language about their bodies has on their daughters and their children. “Five-to-8-year-olds who think their moms are unhappy with their bodies are more likely to feel dissatisfied with their own, according to a report by Common Sense Media, which was a compilation of all the existing research on how kids and teens feel about their bodies.” The article also cites findings from the report about how quickly body image ideals can change in young children, writing, “more than half of girls and one-third of boys as young as 6 to 8 think their ideal weight is thinner than their current size. By age 7, one in four kids has engaged in some kind of dieting behavior.”
Breaking The Chain
Every day is an opportunity to break the chain of generational body image issues. If you can remember your parents openly criticizing their bodies, constantly trying diet fads, and talking about their appearance, it is likely your parents learned from their parents. Our patterns of behavior can be traced back for generations.
- Realize every body is made uniquely with a distinct genetic code
- Most mainstream images of idealized “perfect” bodies are digitally altered
- You are empowered to decide what is beautiful and how beautiful you feel
- Eliminate material which makes you feel badly about your body image, like fashion magazines, Instagram models, or other sources
- Use positive affirmations daily to emphasize body positivity
- Follow body positive models and individuals on social media
- Encourage positive body talk when people start talking negatively about their bodies
Body image is a struggle many people face. You are not alone. There are ways to learn to love yourself and your body again. If your body image issues have created co-occurring problems with chemical dependency, eating disorders, and other mental health disorders, Cottonwood Tucson offers its professional excellence in co-occurring disorder treatment. Providing hope and healing, our residential treatment programs take an integrative approach to rehabilitation. For information, call us today by dialing (888) 727-0441.