Body Positive Parenting

Photo credit: Photo by Ekaterina Kartushina on Unsplash
After the birth of my son I knew straight away that I didn’t want him growing up with the same negative body issues that I did. I was determined to overcome my own insecurities, so that I could project a positive attitude towards all body types to him. My son is now three, and I have included him on my body acceptance journey as much as I can – and because he is young, I’m hoping that I can nurture the idea that bodies come in all shapes and sizes – and that every person is completely normal as they are – not something that needs changing.

I do intend to include him and the child I am currently carrying (I am nine months pregnant, as I am writing this) in family-orientated naturist activities in the not-so-distant future. Myself and my partner attend naturist events; and I feel it may help my son understand that nudity is normal and not something to be regarded as inherently sexual – which can also be an important piece for children understanding the idea of consent from a young age. To a child, a body is a body – and a person’s "attractiveness" within the context of a group is not something with which they are concerned.

Ideally, both of my children will grow into the idea that there is no "right" or "wrong" body, no "good" or "bad" body – but simply that people are people who come in every shape and size. I avoid words like "fat" and speaking negatively about my own body in front of him. I know as he gets older and attends school, he will hear all kinds of things – but I’m hoping that I can instill a positive attitude towards body types so that he might ignore any comments, should they ever be thrown his way – and even better, that he may be an advocate for body positivity and the importance of seeing a person for more than their physical appearance.
When my son asks me about my body, I have answered questions as honestly as I can in ways I think he can understand. He once asked me why I have a big, soft tummy. I responded by telling him that he grew in there – and it got bigger as he grew, and stayed a little bigger after he was born. I told him that I loved my tummy, because it gave me him.
He accepted that explanation – and I think it’s a small step towards his recognizing that a body is more than what it looks like – and that it tells a story – one we should all be willing to hear.


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