It might be difficult to know what to say when relatives make disparaging remarks about your child’s body.
Children’s attitudes toward their bodies develop at an early age, so it’s important that friends and family don’t pass negative remarks about your child’s body.
According to research, children as young as three years old can struggle with body image concerns.
Numerous factors influence how youngsters view themselves. Parents can significantly contribute to their children’s development of a positive body image and self-esteem by ensuring that relatives (even those who wish to do no harm) do not discuss your child’s body, weight, or eating habits.
Poor body image
While poor body image is more frequently linked with girls, it affects boys as well. They may feel as though they lack sufficient muscular mass or six-pack abs or are too short. According to one study, underweight boys are more prone to experience depression than overweight girls. However, girls are more likely to experience a bad outcome associated with eating disorders.
Among the most common eating disorders are anorexia (extreme food restriction), bulimia (eating a huge quantity of food, referred to as “binging,” and then throwing it up, referred to as “purging,” or compensating for overeating through exercise or fasting), and binge eating disorder (binging but not purging).
Do not wait till your child is an adult to begin moulding their body image opinions. Children establish judgments on how a body should look earlier than previously believed. Your child’s perception of their body will be shaped by the way you speak about it, as well as by the way relatives speak about it.
How to address the topic of your child’s body image with relatives
Allowing others to comment on your child’s body may seem harmless, but kids often translate and internalise some pretty toxic messages from these sorts of comments. They can also start to think and say similar negative things about themselves. To counter this, parents should ensure that no one – including themselves – makes negative comments regarding a child’s body size or shape. The first step is to identify who in the family is quick to pass comments about your child’s body.With close relatives, you may be able to simply ask them not to do body talk around your child and explain your reasons why. With more distant relatives, you may need to acknowledge their good intentions before moving on to explaining the boundaries you’re trying to set. You can explain how the relative’s comments make your child feel.