In junior high school, I was embarrassed to go to swim class because everybody pointed out the freckles that covered the back of my legs.
For many children, teasing begins in elementary school.
And thanks to social media, the ridicule no longer ends at the classroom door.
On our Focus on the Family Broadcast “Celebrating the Bodies God Gave Us,” we’re talking with Justin and Lindsey Holcomb about how to help your children embrace the knowledge that they’re made in the image of God.
Justin is a minister and professor of theology at Reformed Theological Seminary and Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. Lindsey is an advocate for survivors of abuse, cofounding REST, which stands for Real Escape from the Sex Trade.
Together, Josh and Lindsey conduct training seminars for parents on topics including sexual abuse prevention, body image, how to talk about sex, and preventing child, sexual, and domestic abuse.
They urge parents to be aware that boys and girls begin worrying about their weight and physical appearance long before the teen years:
- Body image concerns begin early: By age 6, girls especially start to express concerns about their weight or shape (National Eating disorder Association, 2020).
- Girls begin dieting young: Approximately 80% of all 10-year-old girls have dieted at least once in their lives (Journal of Adolescent Health, 1997).
- Dieting is prominent: Half of 9 to 10-year-old girls are dieting (International Journal of Eating Disorders, 1991).
- Both girls and boys have body image concerns: By age 10, 1/3 of all girls and 22% of boys say their physical appearance is their number one worry. (Hutchinson and Calland, 2019).
The Holcombs will help your children learn to respect themselves by recognizing that God has made their body in His image, and to respect others because God has made their bodies in His image as well.
While you’re online, check out our free parenting assessment. It will quickly give you an overview of how your family is doing in several key areas. It also offers suggestions for improving the relationships in your home.
Justin and Lindsey Holcomb’s book God Made Me in His Image: Helping Children Appreciate Their Bodies available for a gift of any amount. It’s full of helpful insights and biblical wisdom that will help your children develop a positive body image. For more information, visit our website or call 1-800-A-FAMILY (232-6459).