Helping Children with Growth Disorders

Every child faces problems growing up. When a child doesn't "grow up" physically at the same rate as other children, this may create special issues and concerns. This section can help you and your child find positive ways to deal with such problems now and in the future. The topics discussed in this section include: self-esteem, school performance, getting along with others, and what to do when others tease. Our hope is that the information, guidelines and suggestions provided here will help you raise a happy, well-adjusted child - no matter what his or her size.

Whatever the cause, a child with growth disorder may be teased about being shorter than his or her classmates. It may be helpful to talk with your child about these issues.

Professional counseling may be important for children who are severely distressed about their height and who are teased by their peers. Your child's doctor may be able to provide useful suggestions based on their experiences.

Summary of some practical suggestions for helping your child with growth disorder, self-esteem and teasing
  • Treat your child according to age, not size, and encourage others to do so.
  • Pay attention to your own attitude about your child's size. Your child depends on you to be supportive.
  • Don't allow teasing remarks from siblings or other members of the family - even in fun.
  • Encourage your child to get involved in sports and other physical activities that he or she enjoys. Help your child see that small size is not a disadvantage in many activities (soccer, baseball, softball, swimming, karate), and may be an advantage in others (gymnastics, ballet and long-distance running).
  • Encourage your child to get involved in other nonphysical activities, such as scouts, drama or other hobbies.