Every parent thinks their child is the most beautiful thing in the world. Unfortunately, modern society bombards children with mixed messages about appearance and beauty. As children get older, they may be under intense peer pressure to look attractive or cool. This can easily lead to problems with confidence or self-esteem if the child doesn’t feel they can live up to the expectations for their appearance. The good news is that parents can do a number of things to bolster their child’s confidence and minimize the damage media and society has on a child’s self-image.
Develop Positive Affirmations and Beliefs
Beliefs are powerful lenses through which we perceive the world around us. Our beliefs often shape how we view events in our lives, challenges and others we interact with. While belief systems can change over time, the foundation for belief happens in early childhood. It is remarkably difficult for an adult to change this fundamental belief system. Developing positive belief systems in children is critical not just to their health during childhood but for the rest of their lives.
According to Steve Mueller, positive affirmations are one way to help a child create a positive and healthy belief system. He records a list of such affirmations that parents can teach their children and encourage them to say and interact with these messages on a daily basis. One powerful and fun way to introduce this to kids is to create affirmation cards. The child can write affirmations they like most from the list and then draw or print a picture to go with this affirmation. The child can then keep their collection of cards in a place where they will easily be able to start their day with one of these positive messages. Overtime, these positive messages become internalized into their belief system.
Make Use of Cosmetic Medicine and Dentistry
Cosmetic medicine is a slippery slope for some parents. While it is important to instill a child with a sense of self-worth and confidence that is not based on their appearance, it can still help to correct certain physical deformities. It is important to choose these procedures carefully. Children don’t need plastic surgery just to look more attractive, but they could have it to correct a birth defect or injury.
Seeing a dentist, such as one from the Dentistry For Children & Adolescents, may be necessary to help correct some issues with teeth—like gaps and crookedness. Because teeth can also affect a child’s verbal ability and overall health, these might be some important things to consider fixing—not to mention that having a smile that your child can be proud of will definitely be worth it. Many people, even children, will try to hide their smiles if they are trying to hide any imperfections, and so something like this will definitely boost their confidence.
Positive Role Models
Every kid needs to have positive role models in their lives. Too often, these models become actors and stars that may not always have the most positive lifestyles. Also, the appearance of most movie stars and models in magazines is artificial—the work of makeup and clever camera tricks. Many kids don’t understand how the people they see on screen or print look so beautiful, and they may hold themselves up to an impossible standard of appearance.
The best thing a parent can do is educate their kids about how movie actors and models look that way, and that nobody expects them to try and be like that. You can also redirect your child’s attention to other regular people and encourage them to look for role models not based on appearance or beauty but instead on ethics, lifestyle and values.
Control Access to Media
Modern children face a perpetual onslaught of media and advertisement that encourages them to look a certain way or act a certain way in order to sell products. Most advertising strategies are ones based on loss or needing something you don’t have. This attitude of lacking becomes an ingrained part of the psychology of kids who are constantly exposed to it.
It is impossible to completely eliminate screen time and technology from a kid’s life, but it can be limited. Allow set times for TV watching and monitor kid’s access to YouTube and other free media that is available on mobile devices. Encourage more outside activities and book reading to draw kids away from the screen. You can also talk to kids about advertisements, why they exist and a healthy way to deal with them. Sometimes education is even better than avoidance.
Every child can be instilled with a powerful sense of self-worth and confidence that will allow them to overcome the adversity they will face. Parents have a powerful role to play in shaping and encouraging this inner strength and belief system in their children. It is never too late to make these positive changes in your child’s life.