How do I help my child who’s struggling with body image issues?

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You know, this is a growing issue that we see in our culture, especially around the time of puberty. Because what we are seeing is, you know, boys are starting to, and girls are starting to go through puberty earlier, but what happens if I'm delayed a little bit? And, and this is kind of the common theme that I would see, uh, in a, in a maybe a boy who isn't maturing quite as early as his peers, and that that would be just, I don't know the timeframe of this, but my guess is that that is maybe a component of it. That there are others who are more muscular, they've gone through puberty, they're growing faster, and the delay for a boy is, is one of the more challenging. If you look at the research, it's more challenging on their mental health and their perception of self, right? Because they're more prone to be bullied because they're more scrawny, they're not as muscle muscly, whatever term you use there. And so the, the situation there is, uh, I'm not, I'm not as big, I'm not as strong as others. And, and so, you know, they, they may be late bloomers, but by the time they get into that phase, others are, others are already been there for a year or two. And now I'm finally catching up and I've seen a lot of people ex experience those types of things growing up. Probably the most important thing for the your child, maybe two or three things. One is understanding that they will go through that phase. The other part of it is understanding, and it may not be related to puberty at all. It may be something else that's influencing them. Maybe they are skinny and gawky and, and their body isn't like others. And so you would want to understand what it is that they're experiencing that makes them feel that inadequacy. And I, I made some assumptions there, but before I would go into this conversation, I would want, or as I go into this conversation, I would want to think, what is my child's concern? Why would body image matter? And so I might go in with an open-ended question that would simply be, Hey, I, I've observed this. Do you have a few minutes where we could just talk about what you're experiencing with your body and how you're seeing yourself in relationship to your peers? And an open ended conversation. Open conversation can create an environment where they can talk openly. There are fears, their concerns, and I do have a caution here. And the caution is actually this. I can't tell you how many people that I've met over the past few years who have been consuming pornography, and because they're comparing their bodies to the bodies of porn stars, their bo, they feel inadequate in their body. Now, I'm not saying that this parent and this child is con is that that's the issue. But I am bringing a red flag to the table and saying, is it a possibility? Is that not a possibility? If it's not great? But again, just asking one of these questions, why is this a potential challenge for my child? And it may or may not be related to pornography. It may or may not be related to puberty, but it is related to something. What is that something? And can you get your child to open up and talk about it?

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Dr. Kevin Skinner