A big topic in the realm of bullying today, is how it affects teens’ self image. In the classroom, comments are often thrown around, students ridiculed for how they look or their weight and it can get messy for your young teen if they are not equipped for it. Teens and many young adolescents struggle with a negative self image as it is. On top of that, they deal with day-to-day comments and judgements, being in the middle school or high school popularity contests of today, and sometimes it even goes as far as daily ridicule. I recall when I was in my teens, fat jokes, and critiquing others body parts, were the in thing to do, and its a struggle that age group has never fully gotten rid of.
When thinking of this issue, Dr. Nina Bal, star of the show “Bodyfixers” seemed like the perfect person to interview on the subject. As a cosmetic doctor, she constantly works with people who are struggling with their own self image. Going to the lengths of spending thousands of dollars to fix it, and some, no matter how good they have it, or how many procedures they do, they still seem to have an issue with their own self-image. What we’ve gathered it isn’t as much of a problem with externals as it is with their own internals, namely their perspective, habits, and the like.
Here are 4 Tips from Dr. Nina Bal to Parents for Ensuring a Healthy Self-Image for their teens:
1) Develop Your Identity
“Find something that you really love and enjoy, which could be a sport, a hobby, playing an instrument that helps to develop your identity and self esteem outside the social media . It has to be something that has very little or ideally nothing to do with social media which you are good at. This will help to grow and strengthen your identity, self esteem, image and a good check with reality.” encourages Dr. Bal. I, personally, really like this one. People struggle most with other people’s perspective of them, because they don’t have a strong grasp on who they are. When a person is deeply grounded in their own identity, little to nothing can shake their self esteem. Yet, when their self confidence is rooted in their looks, for example, all these factors really affect them day to day. Developing one’s identity is primary in not being hurt or swayed by bullies, and onlookers.
2) Keeping Reality In Check
Often times, when the youth of today struggle in this area its because they are looking at celebrities and social media influencers and comparing how they look to them, and them alone. That can hurt anyone’s self confidence. No matter how good looking someone is, or how well shaped they find themselves, they can always find someone who has it better than they do. Dr. Nina suggests to encourage one’s kids to realize their surroundings. Having perspective on one’s peers and normal people in real life, is much healthier than looking at celebrities and constantly comparing oneself to them. If they can just realize that most people don’t look like that, and those people entire profession and lives in based around them looking like that, it can help bring them back to reality a bit. Today’s celebrities and social media stars, are highly dependant on retouched and filtered photos, that are not a true representation of their real image.
3) Limit Social Media Time
“Limit your time on social media platforms: it can be addictive and bring nothing good after you connected with your friends.” Social media is the struggle that many psychologists have found to cause depression and FOMO for many of the youth of today. What is a person doing when they are on social media? Scrolling. Scrolling, is just intaking the best reality all the accounts they follow can possibily depict of themselves, and just wastes an individual’s time. I personally, have it as one of my rules, I’m not allowed to scroll. There’s little to no benefit to you or your relationship with your friends. It’s much better to interact with pictures in family and friend group chats as a supplement for keeping up with each others lives.
4) Control Social Media Use
“Use social media, don’t let social media use you: if you are looking for something , once you find it, leave the platform. Aimless roaming can be very dangerous, as comparison starts and instantly affects your confidence in a negative way.” Ever wonder why you or your kids leave their phones with a grim look on their faces? It’s because the social experience automatically engages them in comparing. It’s a game that’s hard to win, especially at that age. Encourage your kids to have limits on themselves, for their own good. Explain how it will benefit their lives, and how it does the opposite. How its affecting all their peers and you just are looking out for their best interests. They will thank you for it in the future.
All in all, it’s clear that the younger generation of today has a challenge it’s up against. But, we as parents don’t have to submit to it and declare ourselves defeated, G-d forbid. We have the power to educate and inspire our kids in a healthier path and lifestyle, and to show them what is going on from a higher perspective rather than force or tell them what to do. I encourage you all along with me to speak up and be the difference in their lives they all need.