Demi Lovato recently posted an unedited bikini photo of herself on Instagram. As of this writing, she has received more than 8 million likes and the comments are extremely supportive and encouraging. So why then do we live in a world in which women still constantly feel they have to hide their “flaws,” edit away their blemishes, and promote a level of perfectionism that’s harmful? Teenage girls are particularly susceptible to such pressure. Have you had teen body positivity conversations with your child? It’s a good idea to check in with your teen and ask questions about their own perceptions of themselves. Resist the urge to dismiss their feelings, even if you know they are way off base about themselves. When you hear your athletically-built child call themselves fat, it will take everything inside of you to want to tell them this is not only untrue but ridiculous. Instead, validate that though you do not see them that way, you do understand that they see themselves that way and it must be hard to be coping with such pressure and feelings. Validating will keep them sharing with you in future. Continue to check in with them and be an empathetic ear. Remember back to when you were a teen and what you would’ve wanted to receive from your parent.
Keep in mind that you model behavior to your teen. If you’re a mom who is always on a diet and frequently discusses how you hate your cellulite, your child will imitate and see the world through that same lens.