LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) - It's Parenting Connection Tuesday and 6 News is here for you with tips, strategies, and helpful reminders from local child development experts on how we can be better parents and guardians. Today's topic: Concerns of body image are happening at a younger age. A new poll from the University of Michigan, finds almost two thirds of parents say their child is self-conscious about some aspect of their appearance, whether it's weight, hair, acne, or facial features. It also shows it's no longer just a perceived teenage girl issue -- and that half of kids between the ages of 8 and 12, from both genders feel body image pressures as well. Doctors who did the study say, social media is playing a big role in how children think about body image. Mainly because it's not just models who are getting airbrushed and using filters to make them seem to look perfect -- anyone with a smartphone can do it. Family Studies expert Doctor Megan Maas with Michigan State University says, parents who model a healthy body image are much more successful than just using words -- especially when parents stay away from pointing the negative body image spotlight on themselves. "If you need to make comments about your body or things like that, do it with your friends and not when your kids are around," says Maas. "If you do endulge and eat cake or whatever just don't say anything -- it's just part of life. Don't punish yourself for that because your kid is going to internalize that and think, 'oh wow, I had cake at this party and now I need to go someplace else'... so modeling your behavior is important."
Here are 6 ways to promote a healthy body image to your children: *Avoid negative self-talk about your own body *Explain the effects of puberty *Promote physical activity *Establish healthy eating habits *Encourage healthy friendships *Talk about social media and other forms of advertising Experts say, using these tips will go a long way in creating what what we want for our kids -- and that being, happy with the way they are.