Helping boys develop a healthy body image

According to my preschool-aged son, bigger is better. No exceptions. From ice creams and pizzas to biceps and bottoms, in his mind, more is more.

For my 7-year-old son though, things are starting to change, albeit gradually. He still eats his green soup because it’ll “make me strong”. He still wants the biggest slice of pie. And he loves being the tallest in his class.

But in the bath the other day, he said he wished his tummy wasn’t so fat. And it scared me.

Especially as I’d just read this article from the University of Melbourne citing research that found boys who are unhappy with their bodies are just as vulnerable as girls.

My son is so young to be aware that, when it comes to certain areas of the body, bigger isn’t always perceived as being better.

I’m trying not to freak out about a single off-the-cuff comment. My son quickly moved on to talking about which Lego Nexo Knight he wants next…

But maybe bemoaning my muffin top isn’t helping matters. I have resolved to be more mindful of the language I use when talking to my sons about bodies – mine, theirs or anyone else’s. I’ll try to celebrate function over form and health over size in order to build strong, healthy bodies and strong, healthy self-esteem that’ll last my sons for life.

Not sure where to begin? Click here to view Common Sense Media’s 5 tips to promote a healthy body image for boys.

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