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Young people - self-esteem and impact on body image/eating

This article addresses the role of self-esteem and the impact on body image, relationship with food and how this can play a huge role in a young persons life.

There has been an increase in males and females over the years becoming more aware of their body weight and how they look.

We are taught to take care of our appearance and bodies as part of feeling good about ourselves. Yet when does this go too far? When teens stop eating and cannot go out of the house without putting their make-up on and doing their hair.

We are now exposed to social media sight, teens are comparing themselves, posting selfies hoping for likes and have the added pressure of not looking slim enough or attractive. However, I can recall being a teen without the social media pressures and feeling conscious my weight, even though I was not at all over weight. I only imagined now that feeling is magnified for young people. 

We have images of men and women looking super fit and super skinny, with flawless skin, that are not true pictures of what most people look like day-to-day, but digitally these images are airbrushed or enhanced to remove the imperfections.

This causes teens to start crash dieting, binge eating or stop eating altogether. For more information on eating disorders go to: http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/eatingdisorders/Pages/eating-disorders-explained.aspx.

Self-esteem and confidence in ourselves plays a huge part in how we see and feel about how we look. Young people may have low self-esteem due to bullying, relationship problems at home or general pressures or anxieties they feel about growing up.

What helps?

It really helps for parents/carers to have good relationships with their teens to help them feel confident and good about themselves. Generally when we feel supported at home and cared for, we are less likely to what to conform to please others or be desperately trying to fit in.

Also finding time to discuss with teens can help cope with what they may be experiencing. Having someone close who will listen can make the world of difference to a young person. We may find that we have less time with young people, but making that time will ensure good communication and strengthen the relationships. Supporting them in eating a balanced healthy diet and being active will help them feel good about themselves. 

It helps if children and young people have a good social life and friendships. If you find your child or young person is isolated, support them to increase their social skills by joining new clubs or going to places where they can meet new people. It is important you contact school and discuss with them your concerns if you are worried about behavioural changes. They often can reassure you, talk to them and offer emotional support at school.

If you are concerned about your teen and would like further help please go to the links below.

http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/eatingdisorders/Pages/eating-disorders-advice-parents.aspx

http://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/types-of-mental-health-problems/eating-problems/

Thank you for taking the time to read this. Sarah Thorpe. 

Counselling Directory is not responsible for the articles published by members. The views expressed are those of the member who wrote the article.

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Written by Sarah May Thorpe BSC MBACP

My name is Sarah Thorpe, I work self employed as a counsellor working in Doncaster with Adults, Children and their families. I have a background of working with people in maintaining emotional and psychological stability due to life experiences.… Read more

Written by Sarah May Thorpe BSC MBACP

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