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March 13, 2021
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Puberty and Healthy Body Image

Bodies go through tremendous change at this stage and puberty is a challenging time when t comes to maintaining a healthy body image.

Some kids embrace the change and others are shy or anxious about the changes. The may not ask you about the changes in their body and may go to friends or other resources for more information. Give them resources if you feel like they won’t ask you questions about how they feel about their body changing. Normalize the changes by talking openly about what is happening. They care a lot about what they look like during the age and how their friends see them. Discuss how this is a time of change and its ok to feel worried about it, but that it is all part of growing into an adult. Talk about acceptance and tolerance of self and others as a part of this change – encourage them to be kind to others they see are having a difficult time dealing with body image. Discuss how they developed their values about image and how important looks are to them and to your family. Introduce the concept that body image in a social norm and how it has changed over the years as the values of society has changed. Remember to include health and wellness as a large part of the discussion and decision-making strategies based on health not size or image.


What you can do:

         Talk about puberty and the changes that will occur to give information and normalize the experience

          Provide resources on puberty to help answer questions they may not ask you

          Talk to them about acceptance, tolerance, empathy and kindness

          Discuss how body image is a changing social construct

          Talk about value-based decision making and focus on health and wellness

          Encourage them to get to know people before making decisions

          Model healthy body image

          Talk about empathy and compassion

          Discuss how they feel about themselves and their body image

          Help them identify their image or style and encourage them to experiment

          Discuss healthy eating and exercise


  •           They will feel empowered about their ability to navigate these changes
  •           They will ask for information
  •           They will experiment with different styles
  •           They will develop relationships based on shared interests and not on how others look
  •           They will identify values on which they make decisions
  •           They will talk about themselves in a positive manner
  •           They will show empathy for others
  •           They will show kindness and compassion towards others
  •           They will model acceptance and tolerance
  •           They will be mindful of differences and similarities but not be held back by them
  •           They will have a healthy self-esteem


         “As you move into puberty, your body is going to go through physical changes to prepare you for adulthood. What questions do you have for me?”

          “How do you pick friends? What do you base your choices on?”

          “How do you feel about yourself? Can you see your strengths, the things that make you who you are? Is it based on how you look?”

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