Girl’s body image
Body image is based on perception, which may often be distorted. The things that affect body image are individualistic because perception is subjective. Dream Big, the Big Ten Conference’s program to promote young girls’ participation in sports, consulted with Claudia Rappl, Psy.D., with the Madison Center for Children, South Bend, Ind., to help parents and others understand how they can reinforce a positive body image in girls. Girls tend to struggle with body image in far greater numbers than boys. Studies show that boys don’t focus as much on their body shape and size as do girls. Children often mimic their parents’ beliefs and prejudices. “Anything, such as a comment a parent makes, can set a child in the wrong direction,” Rappl said. That’s why parents need to be aware of what they say, and how they react to their own and others’ body shape and size. A girl’s peers may affect her perception of body image. This is especially true as she reaches adolescence and peer groups become more important.