Why Teenagers Are Getting More Critical About Their Self Image
If you are an adult who has teenage children, you will notice a significant increase in your child’s criticism towards themselves and an increase in negative body image as opposed to when you were a teenager.
Or, if you are a teenager yourself, you will feel the pressure to look and feel great on the outside more than ever.
Why is it that when you are a child, you had to be forced to take a bath, brush your teeth and tidy up your hair, then as soon as you hit puberty that all flips upside down and you spend more time in the bathroom than you do any other part of the house?
Your body image affects strongly how you feel about yourself and it is important that as a parent or a teenager yourself, having a positive body image is important.
Your body image and self esteem is very tightly linked when you are a teenager due to the peer pressure you face to look good and fit in.
What affects a teenager’s body image?
Puberty is the most turbulent time of your life. Your body is experiencing changes at the speed of light and your hormones play havoc with your skin, your mood and your body.
During puberty, you may gain fat before your growth spurt, or you may just shoot up and grow tall and skinny, a high percentage of teens develop acne and mood swings.
All of these factors mixed together spell disaster for your self esteem and body image.
When you are a teenager your friends have a lot of influence over you.
Your friendship group determines what music you listen to, what your hobbies are and what clothes you wear.
However, it is also your peers which can harm your self image and self esteem.
Your friends perpetuate the ideal image of what is perfect or what is normal, and if you do not fit into that image then you may start to be critical of your body image and develop a lower self esteem about yourself.
It is not easy to feel great about yourself in our culture today.
Teenagers are constantly bombarded with unrealistic images of beauty and the perfect body in the media everywhere they turn.
Our culture emphasises the need for us to look perfect, it was just the other month a well known department store featured size 10 mannequins to display their clothes and there was uproar in the media that they promoted obesity.
We are bombarded with the ideology that looking perfect will make us happy, this is highlighted by commercials everywhere, for whiter teeth, nicer clothes, and skinner slender bodies everywhere, on the TV, on the street and now even on our smartphones.
What behaviour is normal?
As children develop into teens, it is normal for them to go through a series of obsessive changes.
Showering three times a day, spending hours in the bathroom trying out different hairstyles or squeezing their spots and commenting on their friend’s and celebrities appearances.
What is not normal behaviour?
In some cases, teenagers can go down a route of self destruction where they over obsess with their self image.
Some teenagers develop prolonged and deep emotions about their self image which can lead to eating disorders, anxiety, depression and even substance abuse.
Where can you get self esteem counselling or help
If you are concerned about self image, there is always someone that you can open up to and talk about your problems.
Counsellors such as the ones found on this site can help you with vital tools to help build your self confidence and help to raise your self esteem levels.
Therapists can help you learn what causes low self esteem and help to remove the stem of the problem for good to help you develop a positive self image about yourself.
Bradley is a keen researcher and blogger about psychology and modern day culture, especially showing a vested interest with self image and self confidence. He works with counsellors and psychotherapists nationally in the UK.