Body Image Issues
No one has a perfect body!
Body image issues are far too often used to explain away a young person’s problems with image dissatisfaction. The simple fact is that being overweight is a significant contributor when someone gets bullied.
The issues associated with this condition are disparaging nicknames, lower self-esteem, and bulimia. This can include a higher level of loneliness, poor self-perception, and poor self-image. There has also been a tendency to report that being overweight is associated with less competence. However, there is currently no scientific evidence to substantiate this claim.
A recent study shows that 23% of students report having been teased about their appearance by a parent. 12% report it was about their weight. 19% of girls report being teased about their appearance by their father—13% by their mother, and 29% by a sibling.
National surveys have found among overweight middle-school-aged children that 30 percent of girls and 24 percent of boys experienced daily bullying, teasing, and rejection because of their size. These numbers doubled for overweight, high school students. 63 percent of girls and 58 percent of boys experiencing bullying due to their weight and size.
Another study of bullying behaviors in 11-16-year-old boys and girls found that overweight and obese school-aged children were more likely to become victims of bullying behaviors than their normal-weight peers . Bullying related to body image issues can contribute to increased depression, anxiety, and risk of mental illnesses, such as eating disorders like anorexia, bulimia, or binge eating.
How Can Parents Help
Here are some ways that you can help your child deal with their body image issue.
Promote healthy eating and exercise habits.
Encourage adolescents not to compare themselves to their peers.
Set a good example by not criticizing your own body or the bodies of others.
Help victims of bullying boost self-esteem by focusing on their positive attributes.
Encourage them to do the things they love. It boosts True self-confidence and builds healthy friendships.
Body Dysmorphic Disorder
There is one other issue when it comes to discussing the issue of body image. It is called Body dysmorphic disorder. Body dysmorphia is a far more severe issue that needs to be dealt with by a professional. Body Dysmorphic Disorder is a mental health disorder in which you can’t stop thinking about one or more perceived defects or flaws in your appearance. This weakness appears minor or is not noticeable by others. But you may feel so embarrassed, ashamed, and anxious that you may avoid many social situations.
The causes of BDD are unclear, but certain biological and environmental factors may contribute to its development. Including genetic predisposition, neurobiological factors such as malfunctioning of serotonin in the brain, personality traits, and life experiences (e.g., child maltreatment, sexual trauma, peer abuse).
Unfortunately, there is no cure for BDD at present. People who suffer from body dysmorphia can heal from obsessive thoughts and worries, but there’s no magic fix. Although there is no cure yet, the symptoms can be helped with treatment by a professional.