Is My Son Struggling with his Body Image?
Body image is a growing concern for boys between the ages of 15-19. Some boys don’t feel they fit in to the group of male peers around them as a result of the way their body looks. In order to fit in and feel welcomed, boys might turn to attention seeking behaviors or approval seeking behaviors with other boys, which could be abusing drugs and alcohol. Fitting in to social groups is extremely important for adolescents and teenagers. If a young boy doesn’t feel that he is being accepted by his peers, he will find a way to be accepted, or put himself on the outskirts completely.
Boys aren’t supposed to struggle with body image, we mistakenly believe, at least not as much as their female counterparts. Just because a boy isn’t openly talking about his weight or his appearance doesn’t mean he isn’t having problematic thoughts about his body. If your boy is being outward about his dissatisfaction with his body and is taking any kind of obsessive or extreme measures to try and remedy his problems with his body, he could be struggling with body dysmorphic disorder. BDD, as it is called, is an unhealthy fixation on perceived physical flaws which can dictate mood and behavior and often lead to dangerous actions.
Red flags for body image parents need to look out for
Pay attention if your boy starts demonstrating any kind of self-consciousness about their body. Boys can have the occasional “moment” in which they don’t feel comfortable with their clothes or the way they look. If your boy starts declining invitations to play sports, hang out with friends, go to the beach or the pool, the amount of focus he gives his body image is taking an unhealthy precedence in his life. Listen for comments about “not being like other boys” or not being able to fit in with peers. Give an especially open ear to any comments about bullying which may be happening at school.
Teens spend a tremendous amount of time online and engaged with social media platforms which are full of digitally altered images and unhealthy messages dictating body image ideals. Parents struggle to know what their teens are doing online and cannot track if boys are spending time obsessing over images of ‘ideal’ male bodies. If other behaviors match up with an excessive amount of time spent online or in magazines, consider it a red flag.
Treatment should effectively transform life from the bottom up. Our programs for adolescent and teenage boys at Stonewater Adolescent Recovery help build a positive foundation while providing life cleansing therapies for healing. Call us today for information on our residential programs with academic support: 1-662-598-4214