Friday, July 16, 2010

Great article about body image and pre-teens or teens

Fostering Healthy Body Image And Weight In Your Pre-Teen Or Teen

By Wendy Oliver-Pyatt, MD
Founder, Oliver-Pyatt Centers
Assistant Clinical Professor of Psychiatry, University of Nevada

Puberty is a tumultuous time in a child's life: the first giant step into the unknown world of adulthood, with its excitement and fears. And no area of puberty and adolescence is more fraught with both promise and worry than a child's changing body image.

Suddenly, after growing slowly and steadily for years, a child approaching puberty rapidly begins to shoot up and round out. In addition, sexual characteristics make their appearance, as hormones trigger breast development, pubic hair growth, and a host of other changes including that hallmark of the teenage years: radical mood swings.

To help your teenager through this exhilarating but also frightening time, it's important to begin by understanding normal pubertal changes.

As children's bodies undergo these changes, they also develop a new image of their own sexuality and attractiveness. In addition, as they add weight and round out, their casual relationship with food and eating becomes more complex.

Children who navigate these changes successfully can mature into confident, healthy individuals who value their own bodies and are in control of their eating. Those who fall prey to societal pressures or destructive dieting during their teen years, however, are targets for eating disorders or lifelong obesity. That's why parents need play an active role in understanding their children's changing bodies and feelings during puberty and adolescence, and promoting a positive body image and a healthy relationship with food and eating...finish reading article

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