Growing Up Short or Heavy Can Be Difficult

Each of us is unique; we come in different shapes and sizes. But that's an adult's view of the world. If a child thinks he's different from the other kids in his class, he can feel bad about it. A child who is shorter or heavier than others may be teased about that difference.

Many times, the parents' reaction to the situation determines how well the child accepts his height or weight.

Listen and understand when your child is describing how he feels about the situation. Then help your child see the problem in perspective and offer support. Focus on his or her strength—artistic ability, sporting skills, or other talents.

Self-esteem really comes from family relationships. You can build self-esteem by spending time with your children and learning about their interests.

The biggest reason that some children are shorter than their peers is genetics. Most short children have short parents. You can help your child grow in a healthy way by offering nutritious meals and making sure your child gets enough sleep and regular exercise.

Some children may have a growth delay, which means that a child is small for his or her age but is growing at a normal rate. Children with this delay usually reach puberty later than others their age, and they continue to grow until an older age. Often a child who has a growth delay has a parent who also went through a similar experience.

If your child is overweight, talk with your child's health care provider for suggestions on how to help your child slim down. The best way for your child to lose weight is to encourage him to exercise more and follow a healthier diet, says the American Academy of Family Physicians. You shouldn't limit how much your child eats, but offer healthier foods.

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