What is body image?

Our body image is what we think we look like, and how that makes us feel. It’s not just about what we see in the mirror. It’s something we learn from the people around us, and from the way we talk to ourselves.

Teenager looking at ipad

Why is body image important?

  • If your child is worrying that they don’t look ‘right’ it can chip away at their self-esteem. It might make them want to change their appearance, hide their ‘flaws’, or avoid people altogether.
  • When your child has good body image, they’ll value themselves just as they are and are less likely to feel that they have to change the way they look to make others like them.
  • With a little practice, anyone can learn body confidence and know how to handle negative thoughts. This means your child will be able to enjoy life without feeling weighed down – they can be comfortable just being themselves.
  • We’ve got some tips on how you can help your child be body confident.

Common worries about body image

Children’s bodies go through lots of changes very quickly. It’s completely natural for them to feel sensitive about this. Your child might experience some anxious feelings about fitting in with others. They may start noticing or comparing:

  • what their bodies can and can’t do
  • weight, height or body shape
  • skin and hair
  • cultural and other differences
  • maturity, such as who’s started shaving or wearing a bra
  • clothes and accessories.

This can be a lot to cope with at any age, so be careful not to dismiss your child’s feelings. Let them know you’re listening and ask how you can support them to feel good about themselves.

Go back

How can I help if my child has low self-esteem?


Activity: understand how social media affects self-esteem


Activity: using a diary to boost self-esteem


How can I help when my child feels anxious?


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