When I was growing up, I was surrounded by sisters. I’m the oldest of 9 kids and 8 of us are girls. My parents got their boy at the end. So, most of what I knew about kids when I became a parent involved what girls thought, felt and dreamed. As I began having my own kids, I was blessed to get a, nearly even split of boys and girls. And suddenly, most of my girls are out of the house and I find myself raising 3 boys. I’m still fumbling through getting a grasp on what might be going through their heads at any given moment.
The other day, Lex called me into the bathroom for some assistance and I found him sitting on the pot. He looked at me and then pointed to his thighs and said, “if I’m so skinny, why are my legs so fat?”. Fat?! There isn’t anything fat about this kiddo! I knew I had only that moment to help him see his legs differently. I explained that when we sit down our legs spread out a little and that what he was seeing where the strong muscles in his legs that help him run so fast and ride his bike so well and that because he does those things, his muscles get bigger and stronger and help him get even further.
He was suddenly proud of his legs! He told me how long he can jump on the trampoline and how fast he can ride his bike.
In that short interaction, I realized that boys struggle with body image, just as girls do. Yes, I’ve read articles about eating disorders occurring in both boys and girls and depression occurring in both genders. Of course, I know that boys aren’t just pillars of confidence, roaming the earth. But I didn’t know that my, very fit and healthy 6 year old son, would be scrutinizing himself! I’m grateful he vocalized his wonder and that I was able to help him form a positive opinion of himself.
Doing the Dance of the Children~