Parents can only do so much to protect their kids from the harsh realities of the world. But, instead of seeing problems, like body image issues and peer pressure as forms of irreversible damage, parents can still foster and nurture healthy ideas of the self. As children grow up and get more involved with the world, they will learn to turn to their peers for approval. And while some parents may see their kids as the best things to ever happen to them, issues like bullying and the pressure to fit in often make it hard for kids to remember their strengths and believe in their potential to grow. Psych2Go shares with you 5 ways parents can raise their kids to be more confident and less self-conscious:
1. Set a good example by dressing appropriately and eating well.
How parents act greatly impacts who their children become when they get older. If parents tend to be physically active and enjoy doing fitness on a daily basis, then their children are more likely to also follow their lead by taking part in similar hobbies. Parents who value tidiness, neatness, appropriate dress, as well as nutrition and exercising on a regular basis can set a good example for their kids to learn how to adapt to these same behavioral patterns.
2. Support your child’s extracurricular activities.
Your child will choose to take part in activities that make them feel confident about themselves. Continue to boost those positive feelings by being there for them, whether it means attending every basketball game, chess match, or art show. Allowing children to explore and develop various skills and talents teaches them that confidence doesn’t always rely on one’s outer image, but rather a process of constant work, commitment, and choice.
3. Allow the freedom for your child to model after their favorite people or characters.
Parents might give their children strange looks when their children choose to model after outlandish characters from their favorite sci-fi movies or fantasy books. Let them anyway. Withhold judgment and understand that experimentation is an important, valid stage for kids to learn about who they want to become. If parents are in denial about their children’s apparel choices, it makes it hard for them to be there for them when they are struggling. Instead of criticizing kids, parents can try to understand where their kids are coming from.
4. Talk about attractiveness —ask your child how they see the world.
Go outside with your kids and ask them what they think of the buildings around them, the streets that they walk on, the crowds of people they pass —every element we may fail to miss on a day-to-day basis because we’re so wrapped up in who we are as people and how the world sees us. Tear down that self-absorption and encourage your kids to step outside their comfort zone that will broaden the way they think and perceive the world. By learning and discussing these experiences together, you’re helping your child understand that attractiveness is a subjective, fluid, ever-changing concept, rather than fixed and stagnant.
5. Don’t avoid the difficult or awkward conversations. Ask your child what is trending nowadays and what their opinions are.
It might be hard for parents to understand how the world is changing when things were so different for them back then, but that doesn’t mean they can’t try. Stay in the loop and ask your child what is considered the norm nowadays. Then, ask them what they think of it. That way, your child feels included and can assert their sense of self that encourages them to question it and think for themselves, rather than conforming to the norm just to fit in.
What are your thoughts on coping with body image issues and peer pressure? Leave a comment down below!
Chirban, J. (2014, March 30). Appearance and Peer Pressure. Psychology Today. Retrieved October 5, 2017.