Support Self Esteem
This has been written for parents, but can also be adapted for use by Faith leaders and youth workers.
Challenge social norms
When watching TV or a film with your child challenge stereotypes, that are both unhelpful and also can be really dangerous to the health of our young people. The best looking girls are skinny, most young people under the age of sixteen are sexually active. Often these messages are a hidden subtext of programs or films, question them and teach your children to question them too. Point out the health implication for low weight, early sex and many other dangerous messages put out by the media.
Lead by example
If you don’t give in to your insecurities, decide to be happy with the way you look, don’t give into stereotypes and enjoy life, even when it isn’t quite like the movies, chances are your children will too. If you want your children to take their faith seriously then they must never see hypocrisy at home. That doesn’t mean you have to be perfect, none of us are, but don’t tell them not to lie and then tell lies, tell them not to swear and then swear. Your children see more than you want them to sometimes, if they catch you out, apologise, you would expect them too. Lead by example.
Show respect to your spouse, partner, parents and children and expect respect from them, in a loving way. They then will understand that they should be shown respect and will expect it from others. This will give them a confidence, as they grow up, to walk away from people who treat them badly, they will know they deserve better than that. They will also know that they should show respect.
Often parents are good at telling their children what is wrong with them. Unfortunately sometimes religious parents are not only strict but quite harsh when their children don’t do what is expected. Loving boundaries are really necessary.