May 22, 2013

How to not screw up your kid's body image

I had a Houston client today talking about his parenting abilities. "When you break it down", he told me, "I am just trying to not f*** up my kids." I appreciate his honesty so much. I think good parents often worry about whether their choices will help or wound their children. My precious six year old walked into my room first thing this morning, looked straight at me and asked me if she was skinny. I faltered for a second- taken aback by her question. 

As a therapist who works with people who struggle with body image and self identity, I am very sensitive about this topic. I try not to label my children with terms like "skinny" or "chubby" or say anything that will give them a stigma about their bodies. My hope for my kids would be that they would appreciate and be thankful for the unique qualities in the bodies they have been given.

Parents are not solely responsible for how kids feel about their bodies, but we do have a big influence. The good news is, there are thing we can do to help kids boost their body image. The following tips from WebMD might be helpful starting points as you think about how help the kids in your life.

  • Help children understand that there is not one "ideal" body shape
  • Watch what you say about your own bodies and the comments they make about other people's bodies 
  • Avoiding stereotypes, prejudices, and words like ugly and fat
  • Helping children focus on their abilities and personalities rather than their physical appearance
  • Promote physical activity and exercise. Girls who play sports tend to have higher levels of self-esteem and healthier body images. "Be fit, not necessarily thin, and you will be healthy for life," is an excellent motto.
  • Discourage children from weighing themselves too often 
Your kids are listening, and they want to know that you love and accept them, whatever their body type or weight may be. 

Need help dealing with the stresses of parenting? Our Houston counselors are available for face to face session. Contact us today to find out how we can help.

May 1, 2013

12 Ways you sabotage your mental health

If things feel off-kilter in your life, you may be doing some of these twelve things listed in this article that sabotage your mental health. The great thing about the article is that it also give you practical ideas for what you can do to change those behaviors.,,20694928,00.html?xid=healthyliving05012013