self esteem

Parenting Q&A: “My Daughter Looks Too Sexy in Facebook Photos!”

Written on October 16, 2012 at 10:58 am , by

 

Teen parenting expert Rosalind Wiseman answers your tough questions.

Q. My sweet 14-year-old looks too sexy in her Facebook photo. How can I get her to take it down?

A. I’m going to assume it’s just slightly too sexy and not a provocative pic where it looks like she’s topless in front of a stripper bar. Start by presenting information to your daughter from a third party, like a movie or book. I’d recommend watching the documentary Miss Representation with her. (You could even host a screening party with other parents and girls so you can discuss it as a group afterward.) You want your daughter to understand the pressures girls face to present themselves in highly sexual ways and what the consequences are for her self-esteem. A few days after the movie, ask her to think about her FB profile picture and putting another in its place. Yes, you can tell her that she must change it or she doesn’t get Facebook, but if you only do that, then you’re missing the larger point: having your daughter develop a sense of how she wants to appear to the world.

Do you have a parenting dilemma for Rosalind? Send an email to askrosalind@familycircle.com.

Rosalind Wiseman helps families and schools with bullying prevention and media literacy. Her book “Queen Bees and Wannabes” inspired the hit movie “Mean Girls.” She writes the Ask Rosalind column for Family Circle, and blogs about parenting tweens and teens on Momster.com.

“I’m a 13-Year Old Girl. Everyone Harasses Me About My Chest Size”

Written on June 13, 2012 at 11:55 am , by

Teen parenting expert Rosalind Wiseman answers your tough questions.

Q. I am a 13-year-old girl in a difficult situation. I know boys are obsessed with breasts. But even my girlfriends harass me about my chest size and spread rumors that I stuff my bra. Why do kids do this if they know it hurts so much?

A. Unfortunately, you’re on the receiving end of everyone else’s body-image insecurities. For the boys you represent sexuality, and they’re confused and terrified of the power you have over them. As for the girls, our culture says they need big breasts to be beautiful, so they’re probably comparing themselves to you and resenting the attention you’re getting—even if you don’t like it. You must ask your friends to be your allies. Say, “I need you to believe me that comments about my chest make me feel really self-conscious. Please back me up when people say mean things to me.” To the boys say, “Look at my eyes when you’re talking to me. Yes, I have breasts. All women do. Deal with it.”

Do you have a parenting dilemma for Rosalind? Send an email to askrosalind@familycircle.com.

Rosalind Wiseman helps families and schools with bullying prevention and media literacy. Her book “Queen Bees and Wannabes” inspired the hit movie “Mean Girls.” She writes the Ask Rosalind column for Family Circle, and blogs about parenting tweens and teens on Momster.com.

A Good Reason for Your Teen to Blog

Written on May 10, 2012 at 10:58 am , by

Here’s some news that will actually have you encouraging your teen to log on: Blogging may help soothe stress and boost self-esteem, according to new research published by the American Psychological Association. Researchers say blogs are even more effective than written journals for kids because they promote sharing, allow feedback and build interpersonal skills. Help your teenager set up his own blog by following these steps.

1. Choose the right platform. “Go with Blogger or WordPress—they are easy to use, customizable and have the best privacy options,” says Gwenn O’Keeffe, M.D., American Academy of Pediatrics spokesperson and a social media expert.

2. Tweak privacy settings. Talk to your child about having a private blog, and letting only you and handpicked people have access. “Rude, off-topic feedback from anonymous readers won’t help a vulnerable teen,” explains O’Keeffe. Plus, it can be dangerous to reveal personal details—name, school, hometown—to strangers.

3. Become a fan. Check out the blog regularly—at least a few times a month. “The default temperament for teens at home is a poker face, so you might be surprised by how expressive your child can be on a blog,” says O’Keeffe. If you notice something that’s worrying—a poem about sadness or dying, for example—casually bring it up. “Say, ‘I enjoyed your poem, but I’m curious to know how you were feeling when you wrote it,’ ” suggests O’Keeffe.

Is your teen a blogger? If so, do you read his or her blog?

Young Girls Are Posting “Am I Ugly?” Videos on YouTube

Written on February 28, 2012 at 4:31 pm , by

Pre-teen and teenage years have always been fraught with insecurity. But rather than seeking a confidence boost from close friends, many kids are turning to strangers on the internet. A recent article on the Huffington Post reports on a disturbing new trend: Young girls are posting videos of themselves on YouTube with a simple question–”Am I ugly or pretty?”

Responses in the comments section range from encouraging to obscene. Not surprisingly, many are concerned that the posters, who are often younger than the site’s required age (13), might not be able to handle the unabashed–and often vicious–anonymous feedback. To prevent long-lasting issues with self-image, some are calling for parents to monitor their children’s usage of the site. Pushback is also coming from teens and preteens, themselves. Some are creating and uploading videos in response to the trend, questioning its purpose.

While our lives are becoming increasingly public–Facebook profiles, YouTube pages, and personal blogs, for starters–it might seem natural to seek public affirmation to assuage our private fears. Yet, the what’s posted on the internet is permanent. So, too, can be the effects of hurtful comments, especially during the tumultuous tween and teen years.

Parents, are you concerned about this trend? Do you monitor your child’s internet use? What suggestions do you have for bolstering children’s self esteem and creating a positive body image?

–Carly Okyle, guest blogger

How Do You Help Your Kids Overcome Rejection?

Written on January 31, 2012 at 6:46 pm , by

Break-ups. Friendship falling outs. Getting passed over for a promotion. Even for us adults, dealing with disappointment isn’t easy–and, in most cases, we’ve been there before and know what we need to get over it, whether it’s time, support from friends and family members, or just keeping busy and staying positive.

But for a teen getting dumped by her first love or receiving a thin envelope from his dream college, the experience can be crushing–especially because it’s something they’ve never dealt with before.

In “How to Help Teens Deal with Rejection,” in Family Circle‘s March issue, writer Ashlea Halpern gets experts’ advice on helping your kid through those social, romantic, extracurricular and academic letdowns that make them feel like their world is ending. Check out the full article here, then tell us:

What crushing disappointments have you helped your kids overcome? Would you have done anything differently? Share in the comments below.