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Body shaming – what hurts teens

Young people are also going through hard times. Don’t assume it is exclusive to adults only. These preteens and teenagers also have their fare share challenges they are dealing with. Ranging from their body changes, to self-discoveries, expectations, pressures from peers, home and the society, …

In this part of the world, it’s like being older or elderly is a certificate and a justification to talk to people any how; and if a younger person replies, he or she is tagged as being rude and disrespectful. People go as far as questioning the credibility of the home training the child is getting and by implication insulting the child’s parent.

A woman told a teenage boy that the reason why he is having acne is because he doesn’t know how to bath well. This was after she had exclaimed loudly before his friends and also drawn attention of other people about his rapid growth. They boy was quite shy but the part of not bathing well she said to him got him embarrassed. He replied the woman saying ” Ma, but I don’t get it. I am an adolescent and acne…” Without allowing him finish his statement, which would have at least informed her a little, she shut him up and threatened to report him to his mother for talking back according to her. I still don’t understand how a child speaking up about how he felt amounts to raising a generation without respect for elders which she kept emphasizing. Anyways the boy went away feeling really upset.

Stop trampling on their self-esteem because you are older. Yes. For every and anytime you pass those nasty comments at them, it has a way of sending wrong messages to them that may register. Stop making the job of parenting difficult for other parents. Some children may be bold enough to speak for themselves, some may not. Some may report to their parent and some may wave it off but may never erase your comment from their memories.

If you played no part in the creation of any being, if God didn’t have to consult your expertise opinion to create any human being, then you have no right on earth to call any child ugly or throw shades at any child because of the size or shape of any part of their bodies. I recently heard a woman talking of how she grew up thinking her mouth was too long because someone called her mouth “ostrich mouth” when she was about four years and she never forgot. So she grew up having that in her subconscious. No matter what she did, she felt she was ugly.

The same way you are dealing with your own issues; middle age crisis, family crisis, financial crisis, menopause, weight gain and loss, wrinkles, sagging skin, gray hair and others but do not like people passing comments about it to you, the same applies to these teenagers. If you have little or no control over your changes, they also do not.

Stop the irrational statements you pass as supposed compliments about their looks, body type, height, weight, shape, hair… it gets to them a lot of times and on the wrong side too. The best you can do is encourage them. If you must say something, compliment them using affirming words. Beyond what you didnt like in the child, see tomorrow’s greatness and affirm it. If you have genuine concerns which can be normal; address it nicely or if you have access to their parents discuss it with them. Offer help where you can with the consent of their parents. Instead of making jest of the breast size help the girl and parent with infomation on how to get the right bra size and type. Instead of talking about the skin blemishes suggest skin care products and routines that can help. The least you can do, is to be kind and fare in your use of words to them. Let their self-confidence and esteem matter to you.

Šī¸ Stella C. Obokoh 2020

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