Parents' View On Body Image Can Affect Children's Own Body Image, Research Says


Friday, July 9th 2021, 4:22 pm
By: Kelsey Kernstine


It's the heat of the summer and surviving bathing suit season can be harder on some of us.

For parents, it’s important to realize how talking about the perfect summer body can affect children's own body image.

Dr. Maria Trapp with OU Health said body dysmorphia gets deeply entrenched into people, especially if gets started and taught at a young age.

"If we think negatively about ourselves that permeates most of what we feel about other areas of ourselves,” Trapp said.

It very important that a parent speaks to themselves in a healthy way, because research shows that children as young as 3 are aware of their own body image, Trapp said.

"For parents, always talking about your own weight, being on your own diet, and always talking about you're not OK, and what's not right about your own body. Stop. Just stop,” Trapp said.

Trapp said it’s a touchy subject, but it can be detrimental to your child “telling them that they would be happier, or they would be prettier or handsome if they were thinner.”

“You are going into that mental health issue ... of depression, of anxiety, suicidality in some cases if it gets bad enough,” Trapp said.

Trapp said it is important to talk about your own self in a healthy and positive way in front of your children.

"Don’t in any way shame them about their choices, because it will backfire and it won't be beneficial," Trapp said.

It’s important to show your child balance, and teach them to make healthy choices like eating a well-balanced diet and exercising.