Teens not comfortable in their own skin?

Mothers obsessing about their body image are increasingly likely to transmit their negativity and insecurities to their teenage daughters.
This is evident from the candid comments of growing numbers of young girls who say they are unhappy with their body shape, having imbibed this negativity from their parents.
Quizzed about the source of these damaging attitudes towards their body image so early in their young lives, many of the unhappy girls went on to blame their mothers for fixating on their ballooning bellies resulting from recurrent pregnancies.
Areen, a 13-year-old girl, says she despises her appearance. Displaying the picture of a stunning celebrity on her smartphone, she remarks: “When I get my first salary, I will do a complete makeover of my body.”
The teenager’s idea of a makeover borders on the extreme. “I will start with my lips and then slim my face until I look like the girl in the picture. My hair colour doesn’t suit my skin colour, so that will have to change as well. Unfortunately, I can’t do anything with my height. I wish I were a bit shorter. After all, short girls do look more attractive.”
Disordered diets are also making young girls displeased with their weight and body shape. Those on a diet are not overweight, but risk developing bulimia going by the lengths they go to become slim. Growing numbers of girls, as young as 13 and 14, go on open-end diets at an age when their bodies are still developing.
Al Zahra, 16, hardly eats one meal a day. Raised in a family with a history of obesity, the young girl dreads evolving into a typical family member. Although she weighs just 55 kilos, she is terrified about gaining weight if she eats all three meals daily.
Young men, however, seem to take weight and body shape issues in their stride. While girls talk about plans to invest in plastic surgery when they are older, their male counterparts are more concerned about landing a decent job and securing a better life for themselves in the hope of getting settled in life early.
Positive body images are important for the self-esteem of teenagers — a key goal that parents must help inculcate in their children. Acceptance of one’s appearance and features is vital for the child’s physical and mental well-being later in life. Negative body images, on the other hand, can have damaging, long-lasting consequences.
The process of educating children about body positivity should start at home. Parents should be a positive body role model for their children. They should make healthy eating and physical activity part of everyday family life.
In front of children, parents should be proud of things that aren’t related to appearance, like having a sense of humour, trying hard, being caring or being helpful. This will help children divert their attention to positive attitudes.