Talking to kids about their bodies

Our family is mindful when we talk about each others bodies. And we do: it’s how we know more about each other and the world.

Because we have very specific requirements for framing the conversation about eir body, we ask others to not speak to Clover about eir body.

It isn’t always clear what that means. For instance, “Wow! You’ve really grown since I last saw you.” is acknowledging the rapid growth of youth. Cool.

Children learn to evaluate themselves through the words we give them, and in our family we base our words on values, rather than body image. If a child is polite or compassionate, please point that out and praise it as an attribute you’d like more of in the world.

Or, don’t evaluate a child. You can just say “hi” or let them lead the conversation, including not having one. This demonstrates you respect their dignity and autonomy, which is what we want from children, so they grow up strong-minded and willful and able to see the world more clearly and carry forward that dignity and autonomy for others.

If you have considered all of this and feel that a child is at risk, you need to communicate that to an accountable adult. That means having an authentic conversation with their guardian, private from the child. And if you feel that is not possible due to negligence you are obligated to seek further aid for the protection of that child.

You do not speak to the child directly about their body, unless you are providing a complete framework of safety and understanding. If you are not putting in the effort when speaking to a child, your casual remarks about their body are damaging to their self-image, and that’s no good.

This is a conversation, so I enthusiastically await your questions. :slight_smile: