How to boost your daughter’s body image

5 ways to promote body confidence in your teen

Body image & positivity

Being a teenager can bring a lot of new feelings, and these aren’t always good. Now, that’s not to say that being a teen is all things doom and gloom, but changes to their bodies can bring self-esteem problems alongside them. In fact, it’s been found that almost 1/3 of teenagers felt ashamed in relation to their body image; luna also receives 1000s of questions around this topic – whether that’s asking for advice on weight loss, new body hair growth, or even feeling unlovable because of their appearance. 

Team luna’s all about body positivity – it’s at the heart of so much of what we do – so today let’s talk about some ways you can help your teen daughter feel most confident in her own skin.

Answer questions openly about changing bodies

It can be scary when your body starts changing – remember the feeling? If it works for the relationship you have, try sitting down with your daughter and having a relaxed chat about changing bodies. Let her ask any questions she has and try your best to answer them. It’s okay if you don’t know the answers, you can always suggest places she could go to have her questions answered – like the luna app! 

In most cases, luna’s teens have said they hate language like “blossoming”, “growing up” or generally turns of phrases that make them feel patronised or icky. So instead, try to keep things simple: “Hey, I don’t want to make you feel awkward, but I thought I’d let you know I’m here if you want to talk about the changes that happen to you as a teen, I might be able to give you some helpful tips”. Equally, dropping them a letter or a text can help them not feel too awkward about being ambushed with a face to face chat that they weren’t expecting.

Try not to be awkward when discussing bodies

Discussing changes like breast development, periods, body hair and weight gain can feel difficult or awkward, but try your best to remain relaxed and calm. Remember it’s all normal. Once your daughter knows that you can have these conversations easily and with no judgement, she will be likely to chat to you in the future. There’s nothing embarrassing or shameful in these things, so try to encourage open conversation.

Support them as they explore their new style

Adolescence is a key time for exploring new styles. It’s a transition from childhood to adulthood, and clothes often reflect that. She might want to start wearing new clothes, so it’s worth encouraging her to explore her personal style. Offer to take her shopping, or suggest she and her friends go shopping together. If there are styles you’re not so keen on, sit down with your daughter and explain your concerns rationally, and objectively. If you’re able to have calm conversations about this, she’ll be more likely to listen to you and respect your wishes. 

What not to do? Well, we had a question in the other day which could help demonstrate this:

“My mum keeps commenting on the sort of things I wear. I’m 14 and I wear crop tops that barely show anything and occasionally some shorts. I feel like she’s always yelling at me about it recently. She keeps saying I look like an attention seeker. What should I do?”

Encourage healthy and mindful eating

Discussing food and eating can sometimes be a difficult topic for some, but it’s so important to encourage a healthy relationship with food for your daughter. 

luna has far too many questions from teen girls about the comments people make about their bodies, which can really have a lasting impression and distort their relationship with food:

“My mum and brothers have been calling me fat and telling me that i over eat even though i dont and im not fat or anything but they keep calling me it and it makes my rlly sad do u have any ways to help me because when i tell them i dont like what they say to me they just say its the truth and i honestly have become so insecure of my body”

Instead of doing this, encourage your teen to eat regularly enough and eat nutritious and filling foods that give them energy. Have some easy, healthy options for snacks like fruit, veggies and nuts and suggest some yummy meals you can prepare together. It’s also okay to indulge in a treat sometimes – this might look like popcorn for a movie night, ice cream at the beach or a dessert if you go out for dinner. Remember, teens need lots of food to help them grow and develop – everything can be enjoyed, in moderation.

Speak kindly and positively to her

One of the best ways you can do to help your daughter feel good about herself is to speak kindly about her body. This can be tricky, as you might feel worried about upsetting her or bringing up something she doesn’t want to discuss, but creating a body positive environment will do wonders for your daughter’s self-esteem. Make a point of telling her she looks beautiful or that she really suits her outfit even if she eye rolls or groans in response – these kinds of comments are likely to stay with her even so. If she hears it from you regularly, she’ll start to believe it and hopefully spread similar messages to her friends and close ones.

Ultimately, everyone’s different and no advice can be a one-size-fits-all situation, but hopefully this has given you some ideas or insights that will help. Remember, if you’re ever stuck for answers or you feel your daughter isn’t listening to your messages of body positivity, luna’s got plenty of articles and videos that can help empower her. Plus, there’s a team of medics on hand who provide expert advice on any concerns she might have.