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Talking With Teenagers About Respecting Their Bodies

by Tiffany Raiford

Teenagers have so many ways to disrespect their bodies that it might make you consider forbidding them from leaving the house until they're 45. Wanting to protect her is an admirable parental trait, but you can't be with your teen every second. You need to teach your teen how to take care of herself when you're not around. Talking to your teen about respecting her body can help keep her safe from unhealthy habits such as drugs, promiscuity and alcohol.

Feeding Your Body

Your teen’s respect for his body begins with his eating habits. Chances are he will have more respect for his body the more he takes care of it. According to Kids Health, talk to your teen about eating healthful foods, including lean proteins, fruits and vegetables, and portion control. Talk to him about reading the labels on his food, eating only the recommended portion size and making healthful choices when it comes to what he consumes. Discuss how much energy he’ll have when he chooses healthful foods over fast food and processed food and how much more he will like his body when it’s healthy.

Exercise

Eating right is one way your teen can treat her body with respect, but exercise is also critical. According to Kids Health, exercise benefits more than just your teen’s body. It benefits her mind and her mood as well. By exercising, she can keep her body healthy and reduce her risk of contracting diseases such as high blood pressure and certain types of diabetes. Spending at least one hour per day in moderate exercise is the ultimate form of respect your teen can show her body. She can join a sports team, take a walk, a bike ride, go for a run, do yoga, dance or swim to help keep her body in shape and healthy.

Respecting the Body Sexually

According to Girls Health, a division of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, talking to your teen about respecting his body includes discussing the consequences of his sexual decisions. Discuss what can happen when he engages in sexual activity, including intercourse. During this conversation, you should touch on sexually transmitted diseases, what sort of social consequences he might experience, the risk of pregnancy and the way he might feel after engaging in sexual activity at this age. Respecting his body means he needs to understand the consequences that go along with sexual activity, no matter what form those consequences take.

Drug and Alcohol Use

One of the most disrespectful actions your teen can do to her body is to use drugs and alcohol. According to the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, your teen not only disrespects her body when she uses either substance, she also disrespects her mind, her friends, her family and her future. Drugs and alcohol can make her age faster, cause her to have chronic health problems, and even kill or injure her severely.

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