The importance of a healthy body image impacts boys in many ways. Having a healthy body image is crucial in promoting good self-esteem for your son and in helping him to develop courage, power and confidence, as concluded by Young Mens Health. Your son needs to be happy in his own skin and to appreciate his differences and strengths.
The reality is, boys think about their appearance just as much as girls do. According to Better Health Channel, one in four Australian men believe that they are overweight, while 17 percent of men are on a weight loss diet at any given time. There are many reasons why your son might develop a negative body image; this could be because of teasing, advertising, culture, peer pressure, or the changes he experiences during puberty.
As a parent, you can help your son to develop a healthy body image by:
1. Setting a good example
If you are often complaining about your body and flaws you believe you have, your son may pick up on this behaviour and start to focus on what he believes his imperfections are. As a parent, when you have a healthy body image — by embracing your body, seeing yourself in a positive way and appreciating how you look, your son will follow your lead. Remember not to underestimate how much your son pays attention to the things you say.
2. Changing the purpose of exercise
Instead of focusing on exercise as a means of weight loss, encourage your son to focus on the other benefits, such as stress release, enjoyment, concentration and sleep quality. Making exercise fun will also be effective in getting your son to be active. Having your son walk the dog, join a local sports team or sign up to a dance class can be a great way to get him up and moving.
3. Encouraging him to care about his body
Living a generally healthy life will do wonders to develop your son’s body image. When he cares for his body by eating well, exercising regularly, having good personal hygiene, he will be more likely to feel better about himself. This is important because it leads to a healthier routine and stronger body and mind.
4. Finding alternative role models
Who are the people that your son looks up to? If it’s an athlete, for example, encourage your son not to just focus on the physical attributes of his role models. Instead, encourage him to look at and appreciate their character and personality traits, such as their commitment, determination, persistence, confidence and leadership skills. This will help your son understand that achieving success has a lot to do with being consistent with healthy daily habits.
Christ Church Grammar School is focused on influencing and inspiring a new generation of boys to make informed decisions regarding holistic good health and wellbeing. If you would like more insight and tips into boys’ health and wellbeing or raising boys, subscribe to our monthly enewsletter.