Three Ways to Help Your Teenager Feel Comfortable in Her Skin
How much a young girl will value, like and feel good about themselves is unfortunately, for many today, very heavily influenced by social media, reality television and the pressure of living in a beauty obsessed and materialistic society.
For a lot of young girls this pressure can manifest into low self-esteem, low mood, disordered eating, isolation, self-criticism and negative body image. To help your daughters strengthen their relationship with themselves, as part of the upcoming Girls United course, I have created a series of workshops that will help her navigate her way through the murky waters that is self-esteem, body image and self-acceptance.
In the mean time here are three confidence boosting, clarity creating and action taking tips to help your daughters embark on that journey into awesomeness:
Given the value placed on beauty in our society and the ease of which you can make comparisons because of social media, TV, magazines etc its no wonder a young girls self-esteem is closely linked with their perceived attractiveness.
If your daughter is self-conscious about her body, you can offer her comfort (and help her to comfort herself) by reminding her that she is unique, and that to be unique, is a gift she should embrace. Reassure her that her goal should be to feel comfortable in her skin and not to look perfect. Don’t tell her she can do it differently or better next time, encourage her to embrace and her accept her body (and mind) as it is.
Teenagers today face a lot of challenges, often including intense expectations and pressures from their parents, teachers, friends, social media and TV. Sometimes, however, their harshest critics are not other people, but themselves. Sometimes teens can be, the judgmental and critical. This voice makes you feel anxious, judged, criticises you when things don’t work out and calls you names. It puts pressure on you to act, think and look a certain way, so you can feel like you fit in and are a part of something. This results in low confidence and low self-esteem.
When we have self-critical, negative “mean girl” thoughts we sometimes assume they are 100% true. But in actual fact they are far from it! You are not your thoughts, you are the creator of your thoughts and as the creator of your thoughts you can chose to create ones that will either help you or harm you.
The first step towards changing the way you treat yourself is to recognise when you are being self-critical. Once your daughter can recognise this “mean girl voice” she can then make an effort to quieten or soften it with compassion rather than judgment. For e.g instead of saying to you inner critic “you’re so stupid, go away and leave me alone” she should say something like “I know you are feeling a little insecure and that’s why you think I should change but being so harsh and mean makes me feel worse and isn’t helping at all”
Body Image and Body Confidence
Body image is how you view your appearance — including whether you feel pretty to yourself and to others. For many people, especially people in their early teens, body image can be closely linked to self-esteem.
Human beings are inherently unique, individual fabulously imperfect. Being able to embrace our imperfections and value our uniqueness will help to quieten the “inner mean girl” or self-critic that many of us experience. Imperfections, flaws and weaknesses are a natural and normal and part of life. However, imperfections and flaws should not carry with them so much negativity. When you can learn that you are enough just the way that you are by valuing, liking and feeling good about yourself you are creating space for love, kindness and compassion.
Teens with positive body image understand that their body isn’t bad, wrong or unattractive. They appreciate their natural body and value its uniqueness. People with positive body image also feel confident and comfortable and have high self-esteem. Body positive encourages people to feel OK with how they look right now – no matter their size – and to accept their body as it is.
To love your body does not mean that you have to love all of your body! Loving your body is a continuous journey, not an uphill battle to fall in love with every atom of your being. As long as your daughter focuses more time and energy loving the parts of her body that she loves instead of hating the parts she hates, she will be just fine.
Our 7 week course Girls United: A Journey into Awesomeness starts Saturday 28th May and runs until Saturday 16th July. The course is a series of fun and diverse workshops for girls age 12 to 15.