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Justin & Lindsey Holcomb: Need-to-Know Truth for Kids about Body Image

Family Life Today / Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine
The Truth Network Radio
April 10, 2022 10:00 pm

Justin & Lindsey Holcomb: Need-to-Know Truth for Kids about Body Image

Family Life Today / Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine

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April 10, 2022 10:00 pm

How can we weave confidence and truth into our kids' body image? Authors Lindsey & Justin Holcomb offer ideas to help kids embrace the image of God in them.

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I have no problem talking about what complementing them.

If I had a son on your handsome young man, are you beautiful girl. That's the first thing in the main thing that's the problem.

Yeah I see it on social media all the time. My beautiful wife, my beautiful just desecrate the idea that the only adjective most little girls and boys here is handsome or beautiful. Now that's heartbreaking welcome to family life today where we might help. The relationships did not amount in Wilson and I'm Dave Wilson and you can find this@familylifetoday.com or on our family life, family life today. So, do you remember how old you were when you first started disliking your body makes you think I know I've heard it a thousand times about having I was shocked when he first got married when you started talking about but I mean I'm guessing it started when your little girl was probably nine or 10 and I used to share a room with my older sister. She's six years older and I didn't know it at the time that she was bulimic and so she has a lot of sexual abuse in her background as I do, and that she would Benji so we have these in the middle the night on our bed and if it is amazing because we were spending time together and I loved it. Not knowing that she was going to get rid of her food by vomiting it all out but I did it all with her and so I started gaining weight but I also remember this. I remember thinking I can't wait to turn into Barbie because I thought every little girl goes up and she becomes Barbie and psych up waiting and waiting for Amy and I stayed Barbie's little sister skipper was little and shorten 10 to square and I thought what happened that I remember when we started dating. I do know Skipper was used that you Set up skipper like to skip.

I thought you were gorgeous last I knew like I was shocked that you didn't think that I get mad at me and I responded really well and I get mad so you and I realize, oh my goodness, you really do think and you don't like your body, but that really saved me, and I think it shapes a lot of us because a lot of us grow up not liking our bodies, and his parents. That's a difficult place to think. How can I get my son or daughter to really appreciate the way God made them, and as parents is critical that we do our job in teaching them so we've got in our studio today. A couple Justin in the Lindsay Holcomb with us that are going to help us out walking family for guys. Thank you for having yeah it's a joy to be here to be with you 200 even as you sit there and listen to and talk about her journeys at some pretty similar. It doesn't mean I think is little girls growing up we think especially I'm petite to only think maybe tall, long and lean in and back then, I mean we would see things in the magazines.

Now I think it's even worse for little girls and teens as are looking at everything in social media is just in their face constantly and we were describing the you said I think this is important peace in people's lives because it influences how they think about themselves and this message is coming from themselves. So sometimes children think about themselves just by looking the mirror kind of comparing themselves their parents sometimes communicate by words or actions their peers and then the culture so when you think through this one story. I think the story is multiplied for probably every child is a few of us like I didn't think that much. I was always younger and shorter. So I did have a height thing for boys as a big deal. I do have this is radio, but I can describe them, and you understand I very powerful eyebrows powerful.

I like our very huge right now. It will that works really good for girls yet but so that, but that was a major piece, but was still a part of my identity as a kid. So I think everyone every child has this. I do think is heightened because of all different ways that were focusing on right now is a tenderness that that parents and caregivers. That's why like your story of just told a story is important because it looked little open to adult size of what kind of pressure kids on right now about body image rest. This is a big weight just got enough going on. Yeah right ideal body image from their culture, their parent cells and their peers. This big burden that so you guys care enough about it that you've written at least two books and there's more to come about body image with the first one God made all of me a book to help children protect their bodies and what we'll talk about today is another book of God made me in his image, helping children appreciate their body.

So I got asked this, you know, just in your an Episcopalian priest with a PhD. Never had that on our program before seriously. That is powerful and I grew up in is Piscopo Union Church and my little brother died when I was seven. He was 5 1/2 and Rev. Ashton, the priest of that parish literally was in a sense, God, to us he represented the heart of God as he walked this truth, I'm a real tender spot in my heart for your church and what you doing Lindsay here and advocate for sexual abuse survivors talk about that a little bit after the past 20 years I've been working with victims of domestic violence, sexual abuse, sex trafficking, either as a consultant orbits on the ground there at the safe house and so it is been a tremendous honor to come alongside victims and they've taught me a lot. I've worked in the women's maximum-security prisons where it just share their story and out of that out of hearing that darkness of the abuse and the trail and you know not being dignified has really propelled us both to speak out for victims. How can we share the good news is that this is not the end of your story and how can we equip parents to come alongside their children so that they can help empower and prevent but also intercede if something does happen. In addition, this is just for people listening. I'm also a seminary professor so that it is helpful to people know like I start the Bible part of the J train pastors. And she's a survivors advocate, but the thing that I need to say is I've worked on 20 books are not saying that Bragg making a point about this, and for them. I've written with Lindsay's on writing her coattails on all of this so we have two books that are for survivors and in the two children books that you mentioned.

And so when we met she was a case manager for a domestic violence shelter when we were dating him and rifle got married. She was a case manager for sexual small crisis center. How basically anything that I've written that anyone would know my name force because I'm basically writing her coattails is one time it at dinner when we were dating.

You said something like training on this for pastors in certain not much in and that's where literally like the ministry she had at the women's federal prison is where one of our books came from. She's teaching a Bible study to a bunch of women in maximum-security prison. So thanks for dragging me along to cool down and there's been a lot of great changes at the seminary. Justin teaches now they're doing courses on this so that doesn't teaching and I'm coming in and kind of got a little bit so that's promising that here's the number of pastors and in those that are serving in ministry that are getting equipped. I think there's been a lot of change in the last three or four years, using our real credibility.

We have kids they are 11 and 13 so really, in the midst of that yeah and so obviously is apparent in euros is a seminary profit and you've worked a lot of people in ministry. Why did you decide we need to write something to help parents teach body image and godly way for kids what was the angst behind that there are two things. One was. Knowing how many Christian leaders, pastors don't talk about the body at all, or really well so just there's not much material out there. A lot of Christians think that like the afterlife is that I will be a disembodied soul floating around in heaven have resurrected bodies and that's actually surprising to a lot of Christians in and so that's once more the theological ministry. The other piece was just the that the statistics on the issue of body imaging. So basically we've kind of decided to write children's books on difficult issues. You know the first one was child sexual abuse prevention, this one on body image to try to find a pain points where parents feel the burden of their looking at her kid there hearing your kid talk about themselves or their washings with her behavior and her thinking. What will I do sort try to create resources and just realizing statistically that 80% of girls diet. By the time there like 10 I got stop right there. I read that in the last couple pages of your book in ordering your book and obviously it's written for children and parents. The walk-through children, but you get to the end and use you sort of talk to the parents and I like wait a minute, 10 years old girls of Artie started dieting 80% of girls attend have done some type of food restriction we got to women and in the studio than those of you do that, I was a gymnast and so I started it ain't so.

Around the age of 10 is when like a started talking about that. Then later I was in seminary was only 21 and I was teaching at an athletic club in classes and we had to have our body fat measured once a month know if I thought about it when I was 10, but I member you know, probably reading others teen magazines and seen things and link it would be my head but then I developed an eating disorder in high school I was anorexic but nothing for me is nobody ever talked about it stuff in my family just wasn't discussed. We didn't really talk about hard topics and so that's one thing, just the knife that we have an opportunity as parents in an obligation to talk about these things little bit that a time. I think people assume like all the Holcomb's. They're always talking about dark topics like the real Debbie downer's but I think with these conversations it means to be just woven throughout in little bits, so it was, how can we equip parents because a lot of our friends just weren't having a conversation because they didn't want to mess that up.

They didn't know how to even start. What he like talk about what or why not. And so really what this bucket was how can we kind of lay a foundation to start the conversation because parents are the best solution, but also as we can talk about moms or when the biggest problems and so how can we bring those two together in a really healthy empowering way, but I think with the stats. Justin was starting to get into. By age 5 or six most girls especially are starting to express concerns about their weight, size, shape, so we need parents to start reading this book with their 345-year-olds if possible to come to start the conversation tomorrow so they did a study on five-year-old girls and I found that a five-year-old girl whose mom talks about dieting is twice as likely to have images about herself being too big. The category just five euros. Hearing your mom talk about their diets which there's a lot of people talking about their diets. That's not helpful, and then the one that really broke my heart is age 10, one thirds or 33% of girls and 25% of boys say that their number one concern is her body image, while the top concern to them. Thought well the Bible has something to say about this Christian tradition is something to say about this, and there's some wisdom that is not technically specifically Christian that people need to hear as we wanted to frame the conversation about body image is too often the conversation gets co-opted by the patterns of this world and we wanted to frame it with was the Bible say about this. What does God say about you, about the doctrine of creation being the image of God and how you apply that to child thinking about their own body in trust for that needle in part of this is hoping that some of the parents will take apart because they need this book is much as the kids to elaborate on that when he made the parents needed for their own body.

Are you send as parents for their kids for themselves. Yeah, I think there's a lot of people living with that same pressure from themselves from their peers from their culture things at him and said to them when they were kids. Thanks. I think they been bestowed many people been bestowed an identity when they were young, but even still today is reinforced that their worth is connected to their appearance is reinforced all the time. And what a parent say about their little boys. He's little stud or she's beautiful and is just there. Such a focus the adjectives people use about other people.

What about this guy. He's great good looking dude what her she's beautiful mean to us. Usually one of the first things people say about other people. We know that we know how the games being played, and so for the sake of the kids. The more parents have a healthier view of themselves that will spill over into the children from acute Lindsay, do we tell our kids there handsome. Are there beautiful well I think there is definitely opportunity for that. You don't want them dead one day when their 30 be like my mom never talk but if that's the only adjectives that were picking up or if it's kind of different adjective, but all related around beauty than I can be troublesome because then a child will start to think in my anything but that's because beauty can be fading or what if I you know one day don't have that if I get old and saggy, so we want to make sure were waiting when gravity's going to win, but I did read once only. We do a lot of research before we write these books and it said the best way to talk about your child's body is to not talk about the body in the sense that I'm not can it sit down with my 13-year-old and a no mention weight or size, but I could ask her like hey how are you feeling about where you are mean she's 13 how are you feeling like we've been talking about. Your body is changing and all his conversations. There is a ways to have that conversation that are going to be encouraging and empowering without me sitting time being like hey I'm feeling overweight.

I'm feeling frumpy. Are you feeling overweight. So I think it's how we have because I have been sitting around women before when our girls were little and we had this neighbor.

She literally would grab her stomach and downlink and I've seen too countless women literally grab their areas of their body that they don't feel that strong about me like really need to diet for this section. I got a layoff such and such with this here and there and they hear everything think they're not that they do and so I think there's ways like with our 11 and 13-year-old. It's talking about. Hey you're not liking where you are on the volleyball team because you're sitting on the bench a lot. What are some things that we can do to grow in length scale and strength and can get you from a to B and so we talk a lot about grant. We talk a lot about what are some different things you want to try your I see really strong in this area is anything else you want to explore that concrete, like a bucket list or if you're down one day okay you can be down, but then at the end of the day. Let's make a plan. Let's pray and ask God to give wisdom about some other things you can try so it's kinda like let's not stay stuck in the moment, but were also we don't sit around and talk about weight or size necessarily. I have no problem talking about my complement and them if I had a son on your handsome young man, are you beautiful girl. I think that's the main thing. That's the first thing the main thing that's the problem yeah what I see too much are too many men are complement and their wives and daughters. I see it on social media. All my beautiful wife, my beautiful church that's great. Everyone like I think I'm with you like. I'm what you criticize yourself.

I think you're amazing.

But the idea that the only adjectives most little girls and boys here is handsome or beautiful. Now that's heartbreaking. So I started doing the opposite. Instead of not talking about a Buick. I be like you're so smart and sweet and kind and beautiful like that list in their acting like what I don't want to do. Maybe, maybe mom shouldn't talk to girls mother.

By that I don't know but as a dad I want to be in their head when they need to know there beautiful and I don't want some bozo who just wants to kiss on them or get their attention to be the first one to say that I wouldn't be so confident about how they think and feel about them selves spiritually, physically, mentally, socially, so that's really important is the power go back to the story.

When parents criticize their own bodies, let alone the some of things we've heard parents say to their children in front of us, which was horrible but when they when parents criticize her own bodies in front of children they are teaching their children how to criticize themselves shaping them so to counter that. I think there's a great power in an parents loading up those compliments minutes all the time with me every night like I go to a how are things you you're so good socially like your brilliant like what you were in my grade back and I told him why is it tombs watching them light up like you got up a stolen identity that these kids might sink in. They might actually believe that we needed.

If you say it was like mom and dad's words are going to have power over social media over the kids at school Thursday we think they don't but they really do have power are words anything if they feel safe at home and empowered and like I said you know as far as the conversation ship me about their bodies that if your child coming to you and say that I feel insecure within all by all means, if they're broaching the topic. Let's go there but I don't think a parent should ever sit down and like hey I really think you're packing on the way from that which I think is what some parents daily or are they start to kinda steadily put in messages like might not want to grab that I've had a lot of moms come to me and say my 12-year-old daughter. Yeah, she's right on the brink of hitting puberty and she's really gained weight. I can tell she's gained like 15 pounds.

I can tell she's not feeling good about herself. Should I say anything answer that question for us guys like, do we ever say something if it feels like something's going on. Well, I don't think you ever bring up like hey you've gained weight. I think it could be the conversation of it was anything bothering you are what made you feel happy today.

What made you feel sad today and see if you can draw out what are the sad negative things going on and then maybe the parent can piece together okay with having friend issues or grade issues or something. What's leading to this and then kinda come up with a bucket list like hey I see that you're really strong in theater.

Let's dive into that or hey I find that the end like I sleep better if I've gone and gotten some fresh air.

Let's go walk the track together a couple times make it a family event and then also encourage them say what are some things that you haven't ever tried before, that you want to just maybe one time. Let's go do it and that builds that resiliency that builds that grit that were always talking about with our girls, but it might help the parent kind of either introduce the child to something new that may be as physical exercise that they've never delve into but if it's a family thing. It's more likely doing this as a group were hanging out its building camaraderie rather than you need to go run around the lake by yourself wants to do that. I don't want to do that but if it's let's go walk as a family after dinner and catch up about the day and walk the dog or get some fresh air because it can help us sleep better.

That's just a huge lifecare lesson that hopefully they can take you know when they're not in your home.

There's a wiser way to bring that up to back to the specific question of leasing to be gaining weight one does actually happens when you grow as you actually do put on weight seek and then shoot up you put on weight shoot up. That's normal, but to I think reframing this is what you did so well.

One scene when they're younger and still there is good refinement from a weight discussion to a health discussion but make no broader hey like how you think through, like sleeping, eating healthy, no exercise, asking the question would be horrified to find a way to get there do a little bit more work maybe drop some seeds here and there that like prepare for a few days. We might actually see if something comes up from the conversation might be strategic about this in a way that Lindsay talked about food. I remember talking about this mean there was sometimes food in any time. Not good and bad food like talk about food for health reasons, so sometimes food is no suites is not bad food doesn't get their head and then then welcome to your eating disorder pathway or anytime food is all the stuff you want to be anyway so I think this will reframing. I think there is a point of checking and that's what you're describing. Lindsay is getting them to talk is usually they might actually think that about themselves they might notice someone at school most likely has said something so there's probably going to be something that was said that was harmful, but they'll tell you and then you can address and then you start saying what what you think about that unit would like to be healthy. I want your body strong. This is happened. Our girls are nothing we can tell the story, but our girls 11 and 13.

They are stereotypically water culture would say beautiful likes donning than they have been criticized by their peers. One of them was called fat and she is just that was the word that was used to hate saying it is just the way that's use but she's not obese she's not anything she's not a real, but she's also a she's an athlete in the child who said it's just a mean girl and the other one she had commented on her nose and eyebrows like children will find things to make other kids feel insecure is a really good chance going again back to the question.

Someone probably said something to all of our children and expect that something's being sneaky would ask is it whatever said something to that really hurt people. So let me all the time.

I told we told him stories about that, about how people bring up my eyebrows, my receding hairline. My gray hair like as I tell my girls that I'm like Tammy. This doesn't stop still today, people do this like this is what people do their mean and so I want to help you deal and yet you know even as we close, something happened. Justin, when you talked about Lindsay and your daughters and even their perspective on their bodies. You get emotional. What was that why is that because I imagine the kind of identity that the culture has bestowed to them.

I know that my little girls have been called out to her bed made fun of because windows are one who feels like she might be tall and lanky, or whatever. Also know that Lindsay didn't have the right at so I know there's voices that they have had. I hate those voices so if I want to pummel them but I will be louder and I want our voice is what God did to me and I have always other forces of condemnation or whatever from sooner how you been sinned against.

And God bestows an identity to me and as powerful and so I can be a part of doing that to the three women in my life no more dear than I can for them so that stars fulfill exact thought I was picking up on that and I was sick and man of somebody tonight if dad or a mom or both lays in bed with their daughters on whether five or 15 and is the voice of speaking those life words and beauty that can go so far as you know we know our kids are in it were here negative thoughts and beliefs about our own body and if we could be the voice of God for them to remind them there made this image of you.

Good night really that was Steven and Wilson talking with Justin and Lindsay Holcomb on family life today would love to send you a copy of their children's book, God made me in his image. When you make a donation of any amount this week@familylifetoa.com or when you give us a call with your donation at 1-800-358-6329. You can make that a one time gift or recurring monthly gift. Again the number is one 800 F as in family L as in life, and then the word today. If you know of anyone who could benefit from today's conversation you can share this podcast where you get your podcast and while you're there. It really help us out if you rate and review us now starting a conversation with your kids about their body image is at all intimidating read. Yes, you're gonna want to join David and Wilson as they talk again with Justin and Lindsay Holcomb they'll help make it at least less intimidating than it may sound that's coming up tomorrow. Hope you can join us on behalf of David and Wilson. I'm shall be added back next time for another edition of family life today, family life, the day is a production of family life accrued ministry helping you pursue the relationships that matter most


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