How to talk with your teen about body image.
The teenage years are a crazy time of change. Boys and girls have all sorts of hormonal changes. Responsibilities are changing, parents and teachers are expecting new and different things from them.
I remember parts of my early high-school days. I was struggling with my identity, who I wanted to be and who I was. Friends were acting one way and what they wanted to be were many times at odds with what I wanted.
Today culture lies to you and to your children. A lie that is constantly reaffirmed on tv and social media. This lie is that everyone should have a certain “look” to identify with something or someone. Your teens are being encouraged to look and act a certain way, they feel constantly judged and measured as if there is a mirror that follows them around and at any moment that mirror will post pictures to instagram.
This mirror is a high definition carnival mirror, they see long arms, or wide waist, a huge forehead all brought to life in high definition focus. The image your teen sees is really a distortion of where their true value lies.
At TVBC Youth we have been going through Genesis 3, Satan lies to Eve, this is happening today, Satan is lying to your teen about where their value is.
God says: We are his loved children, chosen by Him, and He delights in US (1 John 3:2; 1 Peter 2:9, Zeph 3:17).
These descriptions are how God sees us! Your kids are very likely not delighting in themselves much less able to see how God can delight in them. Now is the time to destroy those lies planted by Satan and this culture is feeding them.
How do we do this?
What I am going to say will go against common opinions of childrearing today. So bare with me in this. What I am sharing is how the gospel can be applied to body image.
Read this passage with your teen.
7 But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from Godand not from us.
Say Something Like:
This image is of a clay pot with treasure inside.
Our culture wants to look like some type of beautiful vase, they want to be admired and have the world look at them and say: “look how good you look” or “wow you are so smart, successful, funny.”
But God says:
We are like plain clay jars with cracks and holes, yet this allows the treasure within us shine more brightly.
This puts the focus on God the Creator, when anyone tries to have the perfect body or be the most attractive person people cannot see the real power within them.
Our external decorations gets in the way of the gospel (1 Peter 3:3). Our own efforts will always fall short in maintaining the desired image (Eccles 3:11), anytime we fall short there is this desperate grab to paint over our weaknesses and shortcomings. Remind them of Adam and Eve in the garden after their sin, they tried to cover up with leaves to hid their shortcomings.
Because we are in Jesus we are free to live as broken and imperfect people who have failings, we are free because in our weakness Christ is strong.
Approach your teens as fellow strugglers, open up to them about your struggles as this will help them to start to open up. Start your conversation with your own failure to live out the gospel in this.
You will probably stumble and fall in your conversation, this is perfect as CHRIST is made perfect in our weakness. Allow Christ to shine through you as you seek to show Christ’s compassion to your children.
Here is a helpful resource from a trusted writer. (affiliate link)What Do You Think of Me? Why Do I Care?: Answers to the Big Questions of Life