I am confident in who I am ….I am 45 and not in bad shape for my age, and I have never been awkward in my own body. I know I am no Adonis but I am also no couch potato. I work with young athletes who are very conscious of the way they look; from girls avoiding sports because they might get muscular shoulders or not feel feminine to young men wanting to work-out every day to get an elusive six pack. We all have our own images of what looks good.
This was not something I had considered in relation to my 11 year old, yet an incident at the swimming baths made me question this. I have trunks for the boys for when they stay over, and on this occasion, one of my boys told me he felt ‘silly’ in his trunks. He was worried that people would laugh at him and he felt that his trunks were a bit ‘tight’. To him it was a big issue and it almost became a ‘not coming out of the changing cubicle’….however, with some reassurance, I was able to dispel his fears and we had a nice day swimming, with the promise to get him some swim shorts with a bit more room.
This started me thinking, I didn’t want him to get hung up on how others might perceive him. I wanted to support him, it is all part of growing up and we have all had embarrassing times; whether it is changing behind a towel for PE lessons at school, or in something else, and it’s usually because we haven’t yet accepted our body shape or changes.
I worry my son will become obsessed about how he looks, and I know swim wear is the hardest of things to wear well, and if having swim shorts for school makes my child comfortable then we will get swim shorts for social swims. We will also talk about the feeling of being watched and the worrying feeling attached to people you feel may be looking at you and how, as a young man, my eldest can start to manage those first steps into becoming a teenager.
As a parent, I am ready for the awkward conversations; all I need is for him to know that my love is unconditional for him, and that how he looks isn’t a big concern to others. I want to help his self-esteem and confidence grow in who he is …. However, I have been told that action man swim trucks are a no-go!
I will to talk him when I see him this week, but until then, I wonder what the best way to approach this is. For now, I support and address things as they arise, but hope his good grounding in manners and healthy lifestyle mean he will become confident in his own body and won’t feel the need to conform to the QC idea man image.
Until next week,