July 21, 2024
Search
Close this search box.
Search
Close this search box.
July 21, 2024
Search
Close this search box.

Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

When Your Adolescent Notices Their Body Changing

Navigating puberty can be challenging for both children and parents, especially when it comes to changes in weight. As kids go through this developmental stage, their bodies undergo significant transformations, including weight gain, which is a normal part of growing up. Here’s some advice for parents to help their children manage their weight and body changes with confidence and health in mind.

  1. Normalize the Changes: It’s crucial to explain to your child that weight gain during puberty is a natural part of growth. Both boys and girls experience changes in body composition, including increases in fat and muscle mass. Reinforce that these changes are healthy and necessary for development.
  2. Encourage Healthy Habits: Focus on fostering a balanced lifestyle rather than emphasizing weight. Encourage nutritious eating habits by providing a variety of healthy foods and involving your child in meal planning and preparation. Promote regular physical activity by finding fun, age-appropriate activities they enjoy, like swimming, biking or playing sports.
  3. Model Positive Behavior: Children often emulate their parents’ attitudes toward food and body image. Be a positive role model by demonstrating healthy eating habits and a balanced approach to physical activity. Avoid negative talk about your own or others’ bodies, and emphasize the importance of health and well-being over appearance. If you find yourself struggling in any of these areas, consider speaking with a CEDS-certified professional.
  4. Promote Body Positivity: Encourage your child to appreciate their body for what it can do rather than how it looks. Teach them about the diversity of body shapes and sizes and challenge societal stereotypes and media portrayals of the “ideal” body. Help them build self-esteem by recognizing their strengths and talents.
  5. Be Supportive and Open: Create an environment where your child feels comfortable discussing their feelings about their body. Listen without judgment and offer reassurance. If your child expresses significant distress about their weight or body image, consider seeking guidance from a CEDS-certified mental health professional.
  6. Educate About Media Influence: Help your child critically evaluate the messages they receive from the media. Explain that many images are edited and unrealistic and encourage them to follow positive role models who promote body diversity and self-acceptance.

By adopting these supportive strategies, parents can help their children navigate body changes and foster long-term well-being and body confidence.


Brian Pollack, LCSW, CEDS-S, is an adjunct professor at Yeshiva University, certified eating disorder specialist and owner of Hilltop Behavioral Health. His work encompasses advocacy, national keynote presentations and continued education surrounding the treatment and prevention of eating disorders.

Leave a Comment

Most Popular Articles