Is your kid the shortest in his class? Here are three ways to boost his self-esteem and build body confidence.

sisters measuring height
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Listen—and relate.

When your child brings up his height and you’re not sure how to respond, keep in mind that he might not be expecting a solution—he just wants to be heard. Repeat what your child said, and reassure him that he’s still growing and that some kids simply grow faster.

Watch for subtle signs.

Your child may not tell you that she’s feeling uncomfortable about her size, but you might be able to see it in her body language. “Kids who don’t like being tall may slouch so they appear to be closer to the size of their friends,” says Wayne Fleisig, Ph.D., a psychologist at Children’s of Alabama, in Birmingham. Shorter kids, on the other hand, might avoid going to an amusement park with their friends because they fear they won’t be tall enough to go on the “big kid” rides. Help your child realize that there’s not a perfect height—explain that every size has an advantage, suggests Eileen Kennedy-Moore, Ph.D., author of Growing Friendships. Taller kids may be able to jump farther, for instance, but shorter ones might run faster.

Rehearse a response.

If your kid is tired of hearing “You look like you’re in kindergarten!” or “Wow, you’re as tall as my mom” from a classmate, work on something he could say to deflect the comment. “Depending on his personality, he might pretend it’s a compliment and say ‘Thanks for noticing’ or add a little sarcasm with ‘So what?’ ” says Dr. Kennedy-Moore.

This article originally appeared in Parents magazine as "Height Doesn't Matter"

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