Gaining a Poor Self-Image
Today’s busy parents need to be aware of whether their child is overly concerned about her body, and if so, get professional help.
Dr. Vicki Panaccione, a Melbourne child psychologist, said she sees a “good many” young people—mostly girls—who think they’re fat or that something is wrong with their bodies, although they don’t have diagnosable eating disorders.
“Generally these are kids who don’t feel good about themselves,” she said. Some are model-thin, some are over-weight and may have been picked on in school.
“They’re never satisfied with the way they look,” Panaccione said. “Most don’t like themselves, don’t think they’re good, worthy people, and the way they visualize themselves is through their bodies. ‘If I’m not a good, worthy person then my body is not good.’”
Experts say the trend of girls trying to lose weight at a young age—or at least talking about it—has been gaining momentum for the past 10 years and is continuing to grow. And it has them worried.
“It used to be that we saw weight problems in the early teens, now it’s in pre-teens,” Panaccione said. “Young girls look up to super models, where the push has been to younger and younger girls. Glamour Shots, earlier use of make-up, sexy clothes for children, and emphasis in society to look older all force kids to focus on their bodies earlier.”
As published in Florida Today.
© MMVI Vicki Panaccione, Ph.D.