Body image issues are usually thought only to be confined to adults, but children can suffer from them, too. Children tend to take their cues regarding the perfect body from images on television, magazines, and other media formats. They also share those views with their peers. If you believe your child is suffering from body image issues, here is what you need to know. 

What Is Negative Body Image?

Body image issues can start as early as elementary school. A negative body image results when your child has an unrealistic view of how his or her body appears to others. For instance, your child might believe that he or she is overweight, but in reality, he or she could be within the correct height-weight range for his or her age. 

The dissatisfaction that a child experiences about his or her body can lead to more serious problems later. He or she can have a low self-esteem and even develop an eating disorder, such as bulimia or anorexia. Your child could struggle with depression. Every aspect of your child's life, such as his or her performance in school and social interactions with others, could suffer. 

What Are the Signs to Look For?

If you suspect your child is suffering from negative body image, there are some signs to look for. For instance, your child might express envy on a consistent basis about a friend's appearance or a celebrity. 

Your child might also spend a lot of time disparaging his or her own appearance. When you compliment your child's appearance, he or she might be quick to downplay it and cite several image problems he or she believes exist. 

What Can You Do?

Due to the seriousness of negative body image, it is important that you take action to help your child. One of the first ways you can help your child is to remember how much influence you have with him or her. You can use that influence to help your child feel better about his or her image. 

For instance, you can avoid negatively talking about the images of others. You should also be vocal in challenging media forms that help to create negative body image issues. 

If your child begins to show signs of depression, has changes to his or her eating and sleeping habits, socially withdraws from others, and has problems at school, it is time to seek professional help. A children's counselor can use a range of tools to help your child handle negative body image issues. Click here for more info about for more information.