Many adults in childhood and adolescence felt like ugly ducklings: protruding ears, bulbous noses, wide ankles, short stature… Anything! Now we can remember those situations with laughter and condescension, but when your own child comes up and says that he is not happy with his appearance, it is no longer fun. Where does this feeling come from and how to help the child accept himself?

Why don’t kids accept themselves?

Unfortunately, as before, television, show business or the media broadcast us an ideal, in their opinion, picture, the task of which is not to make someone happy, but most often to sell.

This is how dangerous standards of beauty are formed. If a person follows them or pursues them, this is perceived normally in society, but if he does not share them, it is often condemned. Unfortunately, you can hear the phrase «I’m fat and ugly» more often than «I’m very interesting and nice.»

Children absorb these standards from childhood, because from birth they are in the cycle of advertising, media, social approval or disapproval (“If only she could lose weight”, “If only he were taller …”, “With such a thick braid she will become an enviable bride” ). All this forms the child’s attitude that it is socially approved external parameters that determine happiness, success in life or good luck.

Ways to deal with complexes and rejection of yourself

Of course, parents will not be able to influence society, but they are quite capable of influencing self-esteem and self-perception. We have found as many as seven ways to support a child in such a situation.

Method number 1: Personal example
If a child hears every day how mom or dad criticize their own appearance (“I got better again, I won’t fit into any dress soon”, “What a terrible bald head I have”), then he will most likely borrow from them the installation that Appearance is the most important thing in life. Therefore, first of all, all words and phrases that are negatively addressed to one’s own appearance should disappear from the parents’ vocabulary.

Method number 2: Helper books
It happens that parents do not quite understand how to approach a child with support and where to start explaining. And books, not only specialized, but also artistic ones, will do just fine with this. However, it is not recommended to simply leave the child alone with them (unless he himself asks for it). The best option is to read them together, discuss, reason, think, discuss.

These publications will allow you to talk with children about your body, appearance and problems of self-acceptance:

  • “You are more beautiful than you think”, Signe Darpinyan, Wendy Sterling, Shelley Aggarwal;
  • «Let’s break through! How to deal with problems, Andrew Matthews;
  • «Looking Through Clothes» (Anne Hollander);
  • «The body is rubbish. Reports from the front (and from the rear), Mara Altman
  • Beauty and the Freak (Sebastian J. Plata);
  • “Your personal body. 50 tips from a girl who has matured” (Marava Ibrahim).

Method number 3: Formation of other values
Parents should focus the attention of the child not on appearance, but on other values. You can say: “Your external data does not at all define you as a person, and in general our external shell has its own specific functions. You are not obliged (a) to please someone’s gaze, simply because once someone suddenly decided that thinness / tall height / miniature foot is, in his opinion, beautiful. Personal qualities are what really matters.

Method number 4: Discussion of the information field
Parents are physically unable to protect their children from the information field. But it is important not to protect the child from various informational noise, but to explain in detail the failure of such “ideals” and to encourage the child to form and express his own point of view. For example, everyone knows that advertising uses photoshop and color correction, that many “standards” are purely physiologically impossible to achieve, and the canons of beauty are changing at a cosmic speed. And really, what if, in 200 years, the absence of ears will be considered beautiful? Invite the children to proceed not from generally accepted fashion standards, but from their own sense of comfort and wishes.

Method number 5: Refusal of objectification
Try not to support a discussion of the appearance of people and do not associate other people’s external data with happiness, health, success. Not only because the child will absorb these attitudes and reproduce them in his life, but because these things are really not connected in any way.

Method number 6: Empathic cues
If a child complains about his appearance, then it is not necessary to immediately rush to convince him. Sometimes kids just don’t need it! It is unlikely that a daughter or son will change their mind just because dad or mom will say: “Your teeth are excellent, and not at all crooked!” Yes, and it often sounds very artificial.

Sometimes children need banal sympathy: the child needs to show his weakness, cry out, speak out, live his experience, express it. In such a situation, empathic remarks can be used: “I can imagine how bad and hurt you are,” “Can I hug you?”, “Can I do something for you?”

Method #7: Cultivating Positive Perceptions
This can be done with the help of an interesting psychological technique — creating a list of qualities that the child likes in himself. Have your child create a list of 10 items (“I am artistic”, “I am cheerful”, “I can listen”, “I am a good dancer”, “I make friends easily”). Every month, a few more items can be added to the list.

Such simple self-examination will allow the child to focus on their merits. Another confirmation that they do not depend on appearance at all!

Psychologists have noticed that most often a person’s desire to change something in their appearance is completely unrelated to the “flaw” itself. What does it mean? The child wants not just to lose weight, change the color of the eyes from gray to green, or grow 15 centimeters. He wants to become more confident, attractive to the opposite sex, or, for example, fit into a new company. A daughter or son can sincerely believe that significant changes in their own appearance will be the best assistant in this. Therefore, the first steps of mothers and fathers should be aimed precisely at increasing the self-esteem of the child, helping in solving his internal problems and forming a critical attitude towards beauty standards.

If there is a need and you can not cope on your own, be sure to contact a psychologist.

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