This Is How To Talk To Your Son About His Body

How to talk to your son about his body, step one: talk to your son about his body. Give him the vocabulary that he needs to communicate how he feels about himself.

Teach him that its normal to think about his appearance.

Teach him that its fine to want to be handsome or pretty.

Teach him that being a boy doesnt take away his right to have feelings about his body.

If your son tells you that he is unhappy because he is too fat or too skinny, dont dismiss him. Dont tell him that boys dont have to worry about stuff like that. Dont tell him that hes lucky that hes not a girl, because then it would really be a problem.

Listen to him really listen and keep your opinions about his appearance to yourself. Dont tell him that youll help him lose weight. Dont tell him that hell bulk up when he gets older. Just listen, and encourage him to explain how and why he feels that way.

If your son is older, talk to him about male bodies in the media. Ask him what he thinks of the storefronts for Hollister or Abercrombie and Fitch; ask him if he thinks that images represent how he thinks men should look. Talk about the fact that Photoshop is used to alter images of boys as well as those of girls.

Dont make jokes about your sons weight. In fact, dont make any comments about his weight. Dont talk about how funny it is that he was so skinny as a little kid and now hes not. Dont poke him in the side and tell him that his ribs stick out. Dont sigh enviously over how thin he is.

Dont assume that you can talk about your sons body any differently than you talk about your daughters.

If you notice that your son is gaining or losing weight, remember that these can be signs of depression. Without asking leading questions or otherwise being obvious about it, try to get some insight into how your son is feeling. Be sensitive to the fact that if youve noticed a change in your sons weight, chances are good that hes very much aware of it and may feel ashamed or embarrassed.

If you notice that your son is rapidly losing weight, seems to be trying to limit what he eats, or is otherwise occupied with the idea that he is fat, remember that eating disorders are on the rise among teenage boys. If you suspect that your son might have an eating disorder, dont try to fix him by telling him that his body is fine and he has nothing to worry about. Eating disorders are serious, and if you have are concerned that your son might have one, you should contact your pediatrician immediately.

Dont comment on other mens bodies neither positively nor negatively. Dont communicate an idealized version of masculine beauty, and dont run other men down. And for the love of God dont make jokes about hair loss, or say that you dont find bald men attractive. Dont make jokes about short men. Dont make jokes about body hair. Dont make jokes about penis size. Seriously. Those things arent funny.

Dont make negative comments about your own body. Dont let him overhear you calling yourself fat, or saying that you should go on a diet. He will learn to love and accept his body by watching how you treat yours. Always remember that he will take his cues on body acceptance from you.

Teach your son to be kind to himself.

Teach him to be kind to other people.

Teach your son that his body is good for all kinds of things dancing, sports, digging in the dirt, yoga, gymnastics, figure skating, or even just sitting quietly and thinking.

Teach him to move his body in lots of different ways, from lifting big rocks to spinning pirouettes, because those things are fun and they feel good. Teach him to stretch and touch his toes because this will help keep his muscles flexible and elastic. Teach him to do cartwheels because there is no greater expression of joy. Teach him to lie in a patch of sunlight and dive into a good book.

Dont teach your son about good foods and bad foods, because food shouldnt be subject to moral judgment. Instead, teach him about foods that will fill him up and give him energy versus foods that will leave him feeling unsatisfied and cranky an hour later. Teach him that candy and desserts are great, but that they wont give him the drive he needs to get through the day.

Teach your son to cook. Teach him to cook anything and everything scrambled eggs, macaroni and cheese, tooth-achingly rich chocolate cake. Teach him how to saut vegetables and whisk egg whites.

Prove to your son that he doesnt need a woman to cook for him.

Prove to him that there is no such thing as a girly interest or hobby.

Teach your son that people come in all different shapes and sizes. Teach him that there is no one specific way that he, as a boy, should look or act his appearance and his interests are perfect because he is perfect. But teach him, too, that there is nothing bad or shameful about feeling uncomfortable with his body. Teach him that there is nothing wrong with wanting to talk about his body, or wanting to find ways to feel happier in his body.

Teach him that youre there to listen.

Teach him that hes not alone.

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