Don’t Fall for the Belly Button Challenge! (#bellybuttonchallenge)

thFirst there was #thighgap…now we have the #bellybuttonchallenge to look forward to.

Over the past few weeks, I’ve seen the “belly button challenge” all over social media. Apparently, it began in China, but has exploded online.  So…what is the belly button challenge you ask?

Reach behind your back and around your waist and see if your hand can cover/touch your belly button.  For the sake of this blog post, go ahead and try.  Can’t do it? Well, then you are considered “too heavy” according to Chinese social media. But really, it could also mean that your arms are really muscular-right?  When you come down to it… it’s actually a test of shoulder flexibility, and not fitness. (I learned that the shoulder has the greatest range of motion of any joint in the body.)  The belly button challenge has become a way for teens, mostly girls – to seek approval online with their body while shaming others.  It also says a lot about China’s obsession (really everyone’s obsession) with being thin. Teens are snapping #selfies of them-self while doing the challenge and posting them online.

A successful belly button challenge attempt is met with praise, “likes” and affirmations that YOU are thin enough.  If deemed thin enough, then you are accepted by the online “belly button” police.

And if you can’t do the challenge, there is a double standard.  For a boy posting a photo of himself failing the challenge, he still receives “likes.”  Many of those photos will show the boy desperately struggling to reach his belly button while making funny faces, contorting his body and laughing. However, for girls posting their failed attempts online for all the world to see, isn’t met with praise or “likes.”  She is telling the world that she is unhealthy…. unworthy, and shameful. This can do a number on anyones body image and self-esteem.

So if you are a teen, don’t fall for this challenge or take it too seriously. Remember, it has nothing to do with health. It’s just another silly social media game to laugh about… and nothing more.

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Teaching Your Teen about Peer Pressure

Guest Blog ~ Teaching Your Teen about Peer Pressure

As teenagers grow into their independence, they tend to reject their parents’ advice in favor of making their own decisions. They test your rules and take more risks against your will. As a parent, you may start to wonder if your teen is even listening to you at all.

You worry that this sense of stubborn self-reliance could lead your teen into a sticky situation, especially when he or she is being pressured to engage in potentially dangerous activities. Will your teen’s sense of reason be trumped by his or her desire to belong? Will he or she even be able to detect peer pressure, especially when it’s coming from a trusted friend? Can your teen say “no” with confidence?

These are tough questions for any parent to have to consider, but there are things you can do to help yourself feel confident in your teen’s ability to resist peer pressure.

  1. Instill a strong sense of confidence and self-worth. Teens with a greater sense of self are more confident in making their own decisions. They are also less likely to succumb to the negative influence of friends. Teach your teen that “No.” can be a complete sentence and empower him or her to stand firm against pressure.
  2. Reinforce trust. Open communication, listening and understanding are key when engaging in a dialogue with your teen. When the trust is mutual, he or she will be more likely to come to you with any questions or concerns about peer pressure.
  3. Take advantage of teachable moments. Taking your teen to a party? Use those minutes in the car to discuss party behavior dos and don’ts. During high-stress periods, such as exams or sports competitions, teach your teen about healthy stress management. Warn your teen about the negative consequences of using alcohol or medicine abuse as a coping mechanism.
  4. Role play. Act out various scenarios of peer pressure, such as being offered an alcoholic beverage or drugs. Alternate between overt and subtle situations. Watch how your teen thinks through and responds to each one. Use different “characters” in your scenarios, including close friends and family members, to illustrate instances where trust and boundaries may be blurred.
  5. Talk to your teen about online safety. With new social networking sites and apps popping up all the time, teens are becoming more accustomed to sharing personal information and photos online. Teach your teen to limit the amount of personal information he or she shares as well as limiting who has access to it. Emphasize that what’s posted online can live online for years—just one bad mistake can have lingering effects.
  6. The gut check. Teach your teen to trust their intuition as a first alarm. If it doesn’t feel right, chances are it’s not right. By the same token, check your gut as well. If something doesn’t feel right, follow up on what is making you feel uncomfortable and take action if necessary.

All of these things will help you feel more confident in your teen while simultaneously helping your teen feel more confident in him or herself. That’s a win, win.

Author: Christy Crandell is a mother of two, an author and a drug awareness advocate working to educate other parents about risky teen behaviors such as medicine abuse on the Five Moms blog.

TEEN MONOLOGUE SERIES at Thick House Theatre in SF Coming Soon!

TEEN MONOLOGUE SERIES: A collection of true stories about real teens struggling  teenage girl Sharing Secret With Friend In Park
with tough issues surrounding self-esteem.

Stories about teens…for teens.

Maybe you know someone like Katie? She is dying to fit in. Literally. A bulimic freshman in high school, she’s drinking and hanging out with the mean girls. 

Or Cindy. A high school junior who acts like everything is always fine. Playing three sports, getting straight A’s, partying on the weekends, but struggling with depression, perfectionism and addiction.

Seventy-five percent of teenage girls with self-esteem issues (have reported) engaging in negative activities such as: smoking, drinking, bullying, cutting, eating disorders, risky sexual behavior, and even suicide attempts. Story telling is a very powerful form of acceptence and self healing.

Dates: August 28th, 2016

Location: Thick House Theatre in SF

Time: 1pm and 2:30pm Sunday

For ticket information click Go to “3 Girls Theatre” website for ticket info.