It’s not uncommon for teenagers to struggle with self-esteem and body issues. Teenage boys and girls can become insecure about how they look for a multitude of reasons. A lot of the time, this causes them to fixate on their weight and can even lead to them taking drastic measures to shed a few pounds, or to bulk up.
Research shows that young women in particular suffer from negative mental health effects if they weigh themselves too often. Here are a few reasons why you should ditch the scale and instead focus on feeling happy with how your body looks and feels.
It Creates An Unhealthy Relationship With Weight
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Stepping on the scale can contribute to their anxieties and detract from what’s really important — a healthy lifestyle. By focusing on good habits over a number on a scale, the value is placed back where it belongs, on how your teen feels, not how they look.
Keeping tabs on their weight by the number can actually make your teen feel worse about themselves. Everyone’s weight fluctuates a little day-by-day. Teens need to understand that this is completely normal and that a bit of weight gain during adolescence is just a part of growing up. In fact, it often comes right before a growth spurt.
It Distracts From Healthy Living
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If teens focus too much on their weight, they may resort to drastic and unhealthy measure to get that number to where they want it to be. It can lead to the development of eating disorders, or substance abuse which can bring about various other mental and physical health issues.
Keeping active and eating well will improve your teen’s overall health and build their self-esteem. If they feel healthy, it will build their confidence to try new things like going out for their school sports team or making new friends in their classes.
How You Can Support Your Teen
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Make it as easy as possible for your teen to make good choices. Stock the fridge with healthy options and provide opportunities to connect over activities that promote a healthy lifestyle, like a nature hike or cooking dinner together.
Feeling good about their body is important to your teen’s happiness. When you talk to your teen about their health, avoid using language that could negatively impact their perception of themselves. Be non-judgemental and open for communication. Don’t negatively comment on their appearance or their weight — instead be positive when it comes to things your teen can do to improve their health. The better your teen feels, the happier they will be about themselves!
The emphasis on health over image is essential. This attitude will help your teen to understand what is really important and to not stress about their appearance. At the end of the day, all parents want is a child who is happy, healthy and confident.
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