It's normal for most teenagers to take an active interest in their appearance, and this is often a good thing. In fact, one sign that a teen is depressed is that he or she may not care about appearance to any degree. However, an acute preoccupation with appearance isn't necessarily ideal for your teenager, either. As the parent, you often have an accurate reading on what behaviors are healthy, and which are unhealthy. If you're worried about your teen's obsession over his or her appearance, it may be time to consider therapy. A children's therapy specialist can get to the reason for your child's obsession and help him or her work through it. Here are some indicators that you should be concerned.
Too Much Time In The Bathroom
While you need to remember that it's relatively normal for your teenager to spend a lot of time in the bathroom working on his or her appearance, this behavior can reach a point at which it's a concern. The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services' Office of Adolescent Health reports that teenage girls spend a little over an hour a day on grooming habits during the school week. Consider this a baseline. If your teen is spending double this duration, for example, you might feel concerned.
Concerning Preoccupation Over Styles
Appearance isn't just related to grooming habits before school. Many teens are also keen on looking their best by wearing fashionable attire. As with anything, this interest can progress to a potentially unhealthy obsession, however. Try to assess how preoccupied your teenager is over clothing and fashion. It's OK if he or she always wants to dress in the latest styles, but there's potentially a problem if your teen is changing styles on a seemingly endless basis. Such behavior could be evidence of your teen trying to fit in with different peer groups, rather than assessing who he or she really is.
Reliance On Body Modification
Beyond conventional grooming habits, your teen might attempt various forms of body modification. On their own, things such as getting tattoos and piercings, as well as perhaps tanning or bleaching might not be a concern. However, if your teen is taking a seemingly obsessive approach to these things, for example, becoming visibly upset if he or she cannot tan to a desired level, it may be a sign that your teen's preoccupation over his or her appearance has reached an unhealthy degree. Sessions with a therapist can make a positive impact in your loved one's life.