How to Help Teens Struggling With Body Image Issues

How to Help Teens Struggling With Body Image Issues

As the parent of a teenager, you need to recognize the signs of unhealthy body image. If you don’t take action now, your teen’s diminished self-esteem could follow them into adulthood. Here are a few tips to help kids who are experiencing body image issues.

Monitor Their Social Media

Social media has made it easier than ever for teenagers to stay connected to the outside world. Unfortunately, these sites can contribute to body image issues. Many teenagers equate getting likes on social media with being attractive. Some will even go to the extent of editing their photos to make themselves look different. Teens who don’t receive any positive feedback often start to feel inferior. When interacting with your child, take time to discuss the importance of not allowing others to dictate their worth.

Stress the Importance of Exercise

Research shows that even a small amount of exercise can help improve body image. However, the purpose of regular exercise isn’t to transform your teen’s body. Active teens naturally tend to have a higher level of confidence. Simply working out 30 minutes a day can have a positive impact. You should also encourage your teen to become involved in sports.

Seek Professional Help

Oftentimes, parents can’t do it all on their own. If you notice your teen is dealing with an eating disorder, don’t be afraid to reach out for professional help. Inpatient eating disorder treatment will enable your teen to get their life back on track. These programs are designed to do more than just treat a serious medical condition. They also give teens the proper guidance and mental support.

Be Positive

Puberty can be a challenging event for some teenagers. It’ll take some time for them to become completely comfortable with their changing body. The last thing they need is any negative criticism about their appearance. Always strive to make your teen feel good. Nothing beats having a good support system. At least a few days a week, make it a point to eat together. Teens who participate in family meals are less likely to engage in risky behaviors.

Be a Good Role Model

Whether you’re a big brother or mother, be a good role model for the teen in your life. They could view you as a source of inspiration. You should make self-confidence a big point of emphasis.

Teenagers have it rougher than you may think. Poor body image isn’t a problem that will disappear overnight. With a little help, your teen can gradually start to overcome their struggles.

Incredible Lessons Imbibed When Teenagers Travel

Incredible Lessons Imbibed When Teenagers Travel

There is no gate, no lock, no bolt that you can set upon the freedom of my mind.” – Virginia Woolf

Teenage children are rebellious, tenacious and passionate. I don’t want them any other way. But as a mother of three teenage kids, I crazily bounce from loving them to pieces to wanting to send them to the moon with smart phone and video games included! 

Raising teenagers is not for the faint of heart and parents must be ready to put on their thinking caps to empower their children while establishing clear rules and boundaries. I try, as a respectful mom, to explain the reasons behind every rule and consequence. I listen to my kids’ points of view and ideas.

However, there are situations in which negotiation isn’t an option and in which I don’t yield to intelligent and persistent youngsters. It will be done as I say: period! 

There are decisions and moments in which learning and being healthy are priorities and in these cases I refuse to negotiate with my teenagers and instead I proceed as a merciless dictator telling everybody what to do and how to do it. 

Traveling is one of them. 

Traveling encourages curiosity. Bali, Indonesia

Why do I strongly encourage my kids to travel?

It may sounds like a cliché but traveling is an eye-opening experience for children and adolescents alike. Represents an opportunity to grow and learn to make decisions on their own;  constitutes a meaningful way of interacting with siblings and parents while developing team-work skills. Traveling represents the chance to learn a new language and culture. 

Although, many times my teenage kiddos don’t see it that way. They don’t want to walk all those kilometers to visit another church (Europe is full of them), or don’t want to explore the rainforest in Indonesia because is unbearably humid and hot. They complain and beg to stay home or at the hotel.

That’s when I start giving orders to every one in sight asking them to carry their own luggage, fill their water bottles, walk, and enjoy because the benefits of traveling are too many to risk missing them for some teenage tantrum. 

Don’t get me wrong! Once we are on the road, ideas about places to visit and explore accordingly to my children’s interests are quickly written at the top of our to-do list. It is not about making their lives miserable. It is about taking control of the many possibilities they have to grow emotionally and physically and that teenage kids sometimes don’t see by themselves because of their short and inexperienced years. 

Discovering Barcelona with our three nomads. Spain

When it comes to learning and raising diversity awareness I feel the need to behave as a parent who guides and encourages. As guidance, many times you will need to establish priorities for your children even though these concerns don’t align with your teenager’s desires. 

How do teenagers benefit from traveling?

To travel with adolescents is an invaluable experience that brings many benefits to our children.  Some of these advantages refer to their core values, some others will enhance their understanding of diversity and cultures. From my family to yours, these are the amazing things I have seen my teenage kids to enjoy and learn during our adventures abroad:

Lessons Learnt When Teenagers Travel

  1. Learn how to save and budget money.

Once my kids are informed about our travel plans for the next weekend or holidays, they begin this unstoppable race to make money so they can buy souvenirs, comics, books, and clothing in our destination. It is so rewarding to see them plan their budgets, brain storming about selling the toys, gadgets and clothes they don’t use anymore, and also helping with extra chores at home… wow! They become so persistent and motivated. Traveling has given them without a doubt some of the tools needed to budget money and the importance of saving. 


Paris isn’t a cheap destination. Some serious budget planning needs to be done before traveling.

2. Empowerment of navigation skills. 

Teenagers like to be in control, they want their opinions and input to be taken into account and traveling allows that. In our family, we encourage our kiddos to suggest and create an itinerary and also to gather info about the transportation and costs of moving around our destination. Technology makes everything easier, so our children handle maps and coordinates with the apps they find more user friendly on their own cellphones. 

I must confess that at first they were so afraid to make mistakes… Afraid of getting lost! But now they feel more independent and capable of finding their way around without the help of mom and dad. And that my dear readers is priceless. I feel like I’m giving my children wings to fly away and be prepared to be successful abroad. 

travel teenagers

Finding her way around London, United Kingdom

3. Lowers the risk of youth depression. 

Millions of teenagers struggle with depression on a regular basis and it’s not uncommon for doctors to over prescribe medication without treating the reasons behind this behavior.  It is important to acknowledge that there are cases of clinical depression and other mental behaviors that need to be treated by specialists.

Let’s be clear, these facts and statistic are scary. Even more scarier is that many cases of teenage depression aren’t recognized by parents and caregivers.

Being on the road with your kiddos helps promote a deep connection between you and your offsprings and this connection is very important to lay the foundations for an emotionally healthy young adult. Additionally, traveling gives you the time to nurture your parent-child relationship, without distractions from work and school, and this allows you to recognize any signs of melancholy, chronic sadness, worries and problems that your child may suffer. 

Crazy moments but always connected as a family! Road trip to Lake Como, Italy

4. Break stereotypes and experience diversity. 

It is a fact that our children are constantly bombarded by the media with statements and generalizations about other cultures, their religion, traditions, and values. By traveling, you are exposing your young adults to diverse cultures and people so they can come with their own ideas and opinions.

For us it has been an eye-opening experience to hear our kids talk to each other about how they had certain biases against a specific ethnic identity, but after a trip they come back home with a totally different approach. When a teenage child travels overseas, he or she has the opportunity to break the often vicious cycle of prejudice and biases by experiencing diversity first hand. That’s awesome! To me it sounds like a more peaceful future for the world! 



5. Discovering unknown abilities and personal traits. 

Traveling doesn’t go smoothly all of the time. Many times we need to reschedule train rides, change hotels, plan a new budget or itinerary or simply deal with illness in the middle of nowhere in a language we don’t speak.

However, traveling maximizes our problem solving skills to their maximum! Cool, isn’t it? But the benefits don’t end there. No. Let me tell you that we have discovered so many things about our children while traveling! Skills that our teenagers didn’t suspect they had… passions they didn’t want to pursue at first and now they love! 

During our last trip to France, my son started to compare some words from French to the Spanish language. He was excited to see that his knowledge of Spanish had helped him understand some ads, street signs, restaurant menus and so on in French. Then he surprised us with several translations using his mobile phone, his Spanish understanding and new discovered ability.


Our teenage son has found a new reason to pursue his career as an author and writer, adding some translations certificates along the way while being motivated by linguistics of Romance languages. He has a new passion now. Is it going to last forever? We don’t know. But being able to find and recognize the good inside themselves is for teenagers the key to a healthy self esteem and happy future. 

In conclusion, I invite you to give your teenage child the chance to see the world! Don’t fall for tantrums and NOs! Stay firm. You are giving them the gift of a lifetime. They will come back home to share with family and friends their experiences about people and their cultures. Instill in them the same curiosity about differences and appreciation of similarities that you have. Traveling will help your children to keep an open heart and become global citizens. 

So, where are you going next?

Don’t Forget to Grab Our Book


5 Awesome Travel Hacks When Traveling With Your Teens


Traveling with your teens is something extraordinary, but you cannot ignore the challenges it brings along. As your kids start getting older, from toddlers to early childhood and teenage, the travel challenges keep on changing, so you require new strategies every time you travel. This way you can have a new kind of holiday every time you plan a trip.

When children become teenagers, they get to experience a new set of challenges and most of all, new kind of vacation.

As the teens get to fine-tune their choices as well as teen personalities, their pals become more important to them than anyone else. Disney and all the fairy tale characters are replaced with outdoor activities and sports.

So here we have a few awesome travel hacks when traveling with teens. They will help you enjoy each other’s company and make everything less hectic.

  • Involve your Teen Child in the Trip Planning

Children mostly behave in the most casual ways, most of the time when you will ask them about what to do on the holidays or where to go, they will casually reply with a ‘whatever.’ But it is crucial to involve them in the trip planning and take their suggestions. Each teen out there wants to be heard, no matter what they say or how they act.

If the kids are involved in the trip planning at an earlier stage, they will enjoy it more and would not complain much. It will teach them how to compromise.

My teenage twins, son and daughter, are the two I discuss everything with, from the trip location to the cost. They are the ones who mostly decide the holiday destination. Both of them have different choice and taste; however, we always pay attention to anything particular that either of us wants. So we compromise for each other and respect each other’s choices.

  • Download Google Maps for Offline Use

When traveling with children, be it toddlers or teens, you don’t want to risk anything. In such cases, ‘Google Maps’ is a lifesaver. Make sufficient space in your tablet or mobile phone and download the ‘Google Maps’ app to browse it later in the offline mode when exploring and moving around the new places.

This app is simple to operate. You can ask your teen kid to the job for you. All the little heads these days are technology freaks; therefore, they know everything about the virtual reality.

Bonus tip: You can also download the ‘Google Translate’ app on your phone. It is another app that is quite beneficial when traveling. When you don’t know the native language of the particular country you are visiting; Google Translate is a true blessing. The best part about this app is that you don’t need an internet connection to make it work. So now you can understand any language and can reply in seconds with the help of this fabulous offline tool.

  • Pack Everything Together

Parents are mostly in panic when packing for themselves and their children. They don’t want to forget anything. When traveling, our brains are mostly consumed a lot, and we often feel overwhelmed, so we forget most of the things here and there especially children, they are more likely to forget things.

Ask your children to help you when packing. It will help them learn the value of things. Packing is an excellent time to teach your kids accountability. Ask your teen kid to prepare a packing list first, so nothing gets left behind. It is something that will make your whole experience a lot less stressful.

Make sure not to over pack. When flying, your luggage bag should weigh according to the weight requirements. It is quite challenging to make last-minute adjustments; therefore, you should pack sensibly.

  • Don’t Forget About the Basics

Everyone knows about the basics, but they are of great significance so mentioning about them is crucial. You need to take care of all the essentials when packing, for example, extra outfits for you and your family, a few favorite outdoor gadgets and a first aid box including all the frequently used medicines like painkillers for headache or stomach pain, anti-allergy, cough syrups and more.

You never know what the trip brings next for you; hence, you should be prepared for everything ahead of time. Besides, packing the outdoor gadgets when traveling with teens is a wise decision, for instance, you can pack a pair of skates, a football, hoverboard or even a scooter.

You may be wonder what a hoverboard is? A hover board is all the rage these days. It is something that every teen loves. It is like a scooter having a board and two wheels, you just need to balance it well, and you are good to go!

  • Take the ‘Me’ Time

Personal space is mandatory for everyone, be it your husband, parents, or your teen kids. When you are traveling, take out some time for yourself and give some personal space to your teen kids as well for everyone needs time to rejuvenate and relax. Consider it one great way to spend amazing family holidays!

Not everyone shares similar interests; it is as simple as that. Therefore, giving each other space to experience different things is not a bad idea. A dull plan of sightseeing can be sometimes exhausting, so you need to set a good set of rules, and then you can let your children roam around freely to all the nearby sights including shopping malls, beaches, restaurants and more.

Furthermore, trips should not be forced. So let your child rest in the hotel room while you hang out with your partner if they don’t want to come along.

Make your traveling time the best time of the year! All these tips and tricks mentioned above are simple yet quite efficient in their own way. Understand how your teens think and work and try and mingle with them at every step to make it work. Have an amazing trip!

Images Source:

About the Author:

Lara Stewart is a fitness expert and gym owner. She is obsessed with physical health as well as healthy eating. She has in-depth knowledge about the fitness needs of the body and how one can stay healthy on a budget. She regularly posts at Scooter Scouter.

5 Awesome Travel Hacks fo Traveling with Teenagers

4 Important Indicators of Drug Abuse in Teens

4 Important Indicators of Drug Abuse in Teens

Drug abuse is rampant in today’s society, and the peer pressure than many teenagers face at school and with friends can be daunting to combat. Even if you do everything right, instruct your child correctly, and have the perfect supporting atmosphere, any teenager can fall to peer pressure.

It is important, therefore, that every parent be aware of changes in their teenager’s health and behavior that could indicate such a problem. If you’re concerned that your child may be a victim of drug abuse, here are four indicators to look for.


When you’re the parent of a teenager, you’re used to your child being moody. Fluctuations in hormones can cause seemingly random moments of irritability or even giddiness. Moodiness caused by drug abuse is different.

They will be prone to violent outbursts, rage, sadness, hopelessness, and other extreme moods that previously were out of character for your teen. By themselves, these mood swings don’t necessarily mean drug abuse, but they could still indicate an underlying issue of extreme stress or even a hormonal disorder.

If accompanied with other warning signs, however, it is important to consider drug abuse as a possible cause. Either way, it would benefit both you and your child to find out if there’s something more than puberty causing the mood swings.

Being Secretive

You know your child. You know when they’re giving you the truth, a half-truth, or a lie. You generally know when they’re keeping secrets. If you ask them a question they usually answer clearly but only give a vague response, this secretive behavior is a sign that they’re doing something of which they know you won’t approve.

While alone this could simply indicate they stayed up late, lost their homework, or played a videogame you don’t approve of, being defensive and secretive about things like money problems, decreased health, and letting parents into their bedroom when they previously allowed it, this can be a sign that they are hiding a drug problem.

When they start keeping secrets about behavior and health declines, it’s important to uncover the truth to ensure they aren’t involved in dangerous activities.

Trouble in School

When a child or a teenager experiences severe changes in their life, their academic life is one of the first places affected. This is why teachers are trained to look for signs of neglect, abuse, and trauma in their students. As a parent, you should form a very strong line of communication with your child’s school and teachers. They will keep you notified if your child is missing class, is losing focus, or is exhibiting health or behavioral issues in class. These can be signs of drug abuse or other issues that you shouldn’t ignore. If you discover that your child is abusing drugs, you can contact emergency support services like Lifeline or other teen rehab centers for addiction counseling and therapy.

Missing Items

Abusing drugs is a very expensive habit. Even if your child has an afterschool job and you provide them with an allowance, that won’t be enough income to support drug abuse. They could resort to stealing from you and from home. If you notice expensive items or cash going missing, it could be collateral damage from your child’s secret drug habit.

 As previously mentioned, this is an especially significant sign if you ask them about the money loss and they become defensive and secretive about it. If your child is spending large amounts of money with no new belongings to show for it, make sure to approach them about it and ensure that the money spent isn’t on something dangerous.

One thing to keep in mind is that drug addiction often stems from other issues. Many people will use illicit drugs to self-medicate when they have an untreated mental or physical illness. It’s important to respond with a desire to help rather than a desire to blame.

Initial approaches to a potential drug abuse problem should be open and genuine inquiries with an emphasis on your desire to protect your child’s health and safety. If they don’t open up about their problems on their own, however, it is important to seek professional help to ensure that the problem is resolved.

Make sure you raise your children with strong values so that they can grow to avoid these pitfalls. Always be aware.

Do you have a teen or have your own experience to share? Comment below so other parents can see what signs to look for.

Meghan Belnap is a freelance writer who enjoys spending time with her family. She loves being in the outdoors and exploring new opportunities whenever they arise. Meghan finds happiness in researching new topics that help to expand her horizons. You can often find her buried in a good book or out looking for an adventure. You can connect with her on Facebook right here and Twitter right here.

4 Important Indicators of Drug Abuse in Teens

10 Ways to Integrate Your Support System into Daily Living

10 Ways to Integrate Your Support System into Daily Living

Who is your support system? The people you call on the toughest of days? What do you turn to for comfort when you are stressed out? Where can you go to get relief and peace when life feels chaotic?

The answers to these questions are important parts of your unique support system. A support system is a catalog of resources that offer you practical and/or emotional support. More specifically, these are people, places, and things that bolster you.

I recently published a guide for teens to build their support networks. This article (and free downloadable map) is equally applicable and supportive for parents and caregivers, and it’s a common part of the work I do with clients. Thus, I invite you to explore this tool, too, and brainstorm and create your unique support system.

I encourage you to keep this living document somewhere you will be able to see it and access it with ease. Reflect: Can you remember the last time you felt overwhelmed and unable to take the next step, or even figure the next step out? This trapped feeling can be tough to get out of. However, the closer we keep our tools and supports, the more frequently we are reminded of the resources around us, and the easier it will be for us to reach out and ask for help.

Parents, especially parents of teens and emerging adults, often share that they feel isolated. Once school drop-offs and play dates are things of the past, parents and caregivers tend to have fewer organic opportunities to interact with one another. This feeling of isolation is an opportunity to build and maintain your systems of support– an important aspect of self-care.

Developing a Support System

Recently, I have become more observant of the ways that I use my own support system, and I’m excited to share how this network has served me. When I brainstormed my own system, I sat with some of the words that I use to describe myself: highly sensitive, empathic, introvert, anxious, curious, detail-oriented, antsy, creative, and so on. As I considered each of these traits, I asked “What brings me comfort? What brings me stability?” Then, I generated broad lists and ideas for supports that were already in place, as well as supprots I wanted to integrate.

Today, I’m sharing some of the specific ways I use my support network to inform daily and weekly practices. These ideas are meant to be examples for you to consider and explore as you dig deep into your own needs and preferences for support. I invite you to edit, revise, revision, and recreate your own map of supports and structures for including these into your regular practices.

10 Ways to Integrate Your Support System into Daily Living

  1. Slow Down. I notice that I feel most supported when I am not rushed. When I take the time to transition from place to place or role to role, I feel more grounded. Observe your transitions and find ways to slow down throughout the shifts you endure daily.
  2. Accountability Partners: I talk with my accountability partner weekly for 20-30 minutes each Friday. We cover celebrations and accomplishments for the week and set goals for the coming week. Explore an accountability relationship with a friend or colleague! Email me for more info on how to get started.
  3. Top 3: When I have a work-related situation that I don’t know how to solve, I have 3 close friends who are also solopreneurs that I can contact to share, brainstorm, and create a plan. When I face depression, I reach out to my partner, my sister, and a close friend. Consider having a top 3 list for personal life, as well as work life.
  4. Shared Interest Groups: I meet weekly with my writing group. We are building a culture of support, resource sharing, and feedback around our work as writers. This helps me know that I am not in isolation as I do my creative work. Join groups of people who have similar interests and projects as you.
  5. Scheduled Self-Care: Yoga and walking in nature support me in feeling strong in my mind. I set aside time for these activities (and others– like baths, reading Young Adult fiction, and meditation) because they help me refuel. Plan time for the self-care activities or your choice.
  6. Structured AND Unstructured Family Time: Each week, my partner and I typically designate two “date” nights. This is time that we are dedicating to one another and to our relationship. While we don’t always have plans and rarely leave the house, we have a plan to be with one another. This gives us plenty of other time to connect spontaneously or to work on our individual projects. Explore supports like family meetings, movie night, or walk and talks with your family members. Be mindful of leaving plenty of downtime in the weekly calendar too.
  7. Less is More. Whenever I notice that I am overwhelmed, I (attempt to) stop adding to my plate. I also check the calendar to see if there is anything extra or unnecessary that I can eliminate. I’m finding more and more that a “no” can really be the biggest “yes” to myself and my mental health. Know that it’s okay to say no, to cancel plans, or to decide not to add anything else to your to-do list. 
  8. Professional Supports: I’ve always been an advocate for seeking the help of professionals, from therapists, to coaches, to yoga teachers, to acupuncturists, to doctors, to editors. I spend time curating my list of professional supports and depending on my needs in a given season, I prioritize different appointments. Seek professional supports that align with your values and needs (including insurance, location, and services). Don’t be afraid to “shop around” until you find a great fit.
  9. Happy spaces and places: I travel to happy space figuratively through safe place meditations. I also know that a nearby trail and green space always brings me comfort, as does a bookstore or library. Identify the space and places that can help you shift your energy and find a sense of safety.
  10. Screen-time Limits: Because so much of my work and communication involves screens, I can become overly exhausted and unable to focus. This leaves me switching between tabs or apps and in the end, I feel like I accomplish very little. When I set timers or myself, limiting my time on a given task and setting an intention to attend to one task, I feel more efficient and calm. Set limits for your technology usage. Be curious about the amount of time that feels healthiest and most enjoyable for you; let this inform your limit-setting.

It is my wish that you leave this article with new ideas and awarenesses for building and maintaining your unique support system. Get your free guide and support system map here to help you begin this process. Furthermore, I invite you to share this process and practice with your family. Noramlize asking for help and utilizing resources. We are all in this together.

I’m here to support, and I can’t wait to hear about and learn from your unique map!

Courtney Headshot in Green DressAs a Life Coach for Teens and Parents, Courtney supports tweens, teens, and young adults in finding their voice, growing confidence, and thriving. Through 1:1 and small group coaching sessions, teens and tweens are able to overcome anxiety, disconnect, and isolation as they explore their truest sense of self and develop a deep sense of empowerment. Courtney supports parents in practicing self-care and growing alongside their children. Sessions with Courtney lovingly guide families in developing the trust, communication, and connection that’s crucial for a life of ease.