This Year, Make A ‘No Year’s Resolution’
Body image is a concern for many young people regardless of their age or gender. Kids Help Phone’s Teens Talk 2016 report, which surveyed 1,319 teens in Canada, showed that 46% of teens reported that they have experienced body and self-image problems, making it the most prevalent concern amongst teens today. Girls are more than twice as likely as boy to experience body image issues.
In North America, the most common New Year’s resolution is to lose weight. As we welcome 2017, Kids Help Phone invites you and the teens in your life to take the ‘No Year’s Resolution’ challenge and instead of making a resolution, name something you wouldn’t change about yourself or your body.
By helping the teens in your life recognize their inner qualities and focus on their accomplishments, you can teach them that what is really important about them has nothing to do with their size, shape or weight.
We also encourage you to play a role all throughout the year in helping the teens in your life to accept themselves and their bodies. This creates an environment that promotes self-acceptance and positive self-esteem. When young people feel comfortable in their own skin, it affects their level of confidence, as well as their thoughts and behaviours.
What else can you do?
Communicate. According to our report Teens Talk 2016, less than 50% of teens experiencing body image issues will reach out to someone and talk about it. This may be because they don’t know how to start the conversation or who to turn to. So let the teens in your life know that you’re open to talking about what’s happening in their lives – both the good and the bad - while respecting that they may not want to disclose everything.
Normalize and celebrate diversity. Help them understand that it can take time to adjust to the changes in their body and that people come in all shapes and sizes. Encourage them to accept themselves and others the way they are.
Be mindful of how you talk. The way you talk about body image and food can make a lasting impact. Think about the messages that you’re sending about body image and self-acceptance. When you are more accepting of your own body, you make it easier for others to accept themselves and their own bodies as well. Taking the ‘No Year’s Resolution’ challenge together can be a step in the right direction!
Educate. Television, magazines, music videos, movies, and marketing all influence our perceptions and standards of physical beauty, even though many of the images they portray are unrealistic. Encourage teens to learn about the ways that the images they see can be digitally manipulated and airbrushed. Encourage them not to compare themselves to the pictures they see in the media.
Tell them about Kids Help Phone. Kids Help Phone’s professional counsellors are always here for young people ages five to twenty struggling with problems, big or small. If a young person in your life needs to talk, they can call 1-800-668-6868 or visit www.kidshelpphone.ca
About Kids Help Phone
Kids Help Phone is a charity that provides counselling and referrals in both official languages as the only national helpline for young people. Since 1989, Kids Help Phone has offered kids and teens hope and support through its confidential and anonymous service. As an organization that speaks with young people every day, Kids Help Phone works to share their perspectives and improve their emotional health and well-being. Kids Help Phone raises the majority of its revenue from individuals, foundations, corporations, and community fundraising.