Developing a healthy body image in teen girls can be a tricky process. Our young girls are constantly bombarded with expectations of what the “perfect girl” looks like and acts like. Magazines, billboards, advertisements, movies, television–all of it is heavily laced with airbrushed, unrealistic women.
It’s not hard to believe that this would cause some issues with body image in teen girls. One group of girls that’s often thought to be “safe” from the struggles of body image is the athletes. There’s a misconception that because they’re active in sports they’re healthy–recent surveys and studies show that this can be very wrong.
Athletes struggle with body image, too
In a recent survey conducted by ESPN, girls in sports reported answers to questions concerning body image. Over 30 percent reported that they lie about their weight sometimes, 20 percent reported being called “fat” by at least one coach, and 68 percent said they feel very pressured to look “pretty” even when they’re competing.
In one study, it was found that over 1 in 7 female athletes show signs of disordered eating–others have found even higher statistics of 1 in 3. While sports can offer better self-esteem and body image in teen girls when applied correctly, it can also do the opposite due to certain factors.
When there’s too much pressure and a teen girl doesn’t know how to properly handle that stress, she may turn to unsavory ways of coping. Especially if a sport is conventionally played by “thin” girls, a teen may feel pressured to try and control her nutrition in unhealthy ways.
If your daughter is involved in sports, it’s important to emphasize the importance of physical and mental health. Sit her down and explain to her that sports can be a place to derive pride and self-esteem–but if they’re making her feel bad about herself, you’re there to help her overcome that challenge and work it out.
Make her understand that you’re there if her coach or peers are saying inappropriate or hurtful things about how an athlete should look. Body image in teen girls needs to be nurtured and guided in order to truly thrive–and as the parent, you’re there to help.
If you truly believe your daughter may be struggling with a mental health issue, it’s essential to reach out to a professional for further guidance.
Solstice East is here for your family
Solstice East is a residential treatment center for girls, ages 14 to 18. We understand the specific needs of girls, which is why our program is centered solely on them. Our students often grapple with depression, low self-esteem, issues with body image in teen girls, anxiety, trauma, ADHD, and other emotional or behavioral problems when they come to us.
We have a strong emphasis on family therapy, nutrition, physical fitness. We also offer a supportive staff, cutting-edge academics, addiction therapy, equine therapy, and psychiatric services. At Solstice, we help set the stage for the infusion of light into the previously darkened lives of the families we serve.