Most often, when we think of teenagers that might have a body image problem, we assume that the conversation is about girls. In fact, boys can experience body image struggles too and are similarly plagued by impossible standards set by the media. As a parent, here are some tips for how you can encourage your son to have a positive body image.
Be a Positive Role Model
While we all may have things about ourselves that we don’t like, be careful expressing these frustrations with your own appearance around your children. Your son will pick up on what you say more than you may realize, so complaining about your waist size, height and hair will only tell them that it’s ok to do the same.
Image: Ken Hawkins
Address What’s Seen in the Media
Unfortunately, because of what is portrayed in the media, we have an ingrained concept of what an “ideal” body is. You can help your child have a realistic understanding of what they see in the media by discussing it openly with them. Help them to understand the realities of photoshop, makeup, stylists, cosmetic surgery and airbrushing. Help them also to understand that bodies develop differently and that as long as they treat theirs in a healthy way, that their body is truly ideal.
Of course, it also helps to be positive with your son. Encourage his healthy eating and exercising habits, but also be sure to emphasize his other positive qualities, not just his appearance. Is your son kind, compassionate and full of humor? Is he a leader and a good role model for his friends? Help him to recognize these things about himself and others rather than just focusing on what’s on the outside.
Feature Image: Barney Moss