We have all struggled with self-esteem and body issues growing up in our teens. Back then some had to learn the hard way on the road to self-acceptance but here are 4 parenting tips to help your tween with self-acceptance:
1) Validate their feelings
Feelings of self-contempt normally take root when children experience rejection from those they care for, especially caregivers. Validation is accepting another person’s feelings are real and legitimate, not cosigning inappropriate behavior or differing opinions. By doing so, you’ll create a space of open communication between you and your child where they will feel accepted and understood and will be less likely to show resentment or have emotional outburst. Listen to your child and ask questions and allow them to express their emotions while still explaining to them how acting on certain feelings can bring about consequences.
2) Don’t criticize your appearance in front of them
Like the old adage says, “monkey see, monkey do”. If your child sees you making remarks about your appearance it sends the message that their value is tied to their appearance. If you want your child to develop a healthy body image and a strong sense of pride in their appearance, buy them dolls that look like them or show them people that look like them in a positive light, for example, having dolls or showing models with natural hair so your child can embrace their natural hair texture.
3) Discourage comparisons
Everyone is their own person with their own strengths and weaknesses and sometimes it’s hard for your child to recognize their capabilities when comparing themselves to others. Try helping your child resist the urge to compare themselves to others by highlighting their strengths and reminding them they’re their own person with different skill sets then others.
4) Allow them to express their independence
As they get older, tweens start craving independence. Keeping things restricted from them can cause them to want to rebel. To prevent this, try safe and appropriate ways for your child to exercise their independent streak by allowing them to cook for themselves, giving them chores, etc. You can expand these different forms of independence, as they get older from middle school to high school.
Written By: Dominique Williams, Staff Writer, Modern Domestic