7 Replies Latest reply: Mar 3, 2013 11:27 PM by Lynne Hoffman RSS

How do you talk about weight concerns with your child?

Jane Brown Master
Currently Being Moderated

In a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (June 2010) we learn that the percentage of overweight children and adolescents in the US has nearly tripled since the early 1970's?

 

Childhood obesity has links to diabetes, high blood pressure, depression, anxiety, and poor academic performance; however, most parents would rather have "the talk" with their child about sex, drugs, or alcohol than talk to them about their weight. Is it concern for their child's self image? Is it because you don't know what to say to them?

 

How do you address your concern for their weight with your child?

  • Re: How do you talk about weight concerns with your child?
    dbolin Novice
    Currently Being Moderated

    Great question, Jane! I think that some parents might have trouble broaching the subject with their children because they themselves struggle with the same issues. It's not just children that are suffering from weight issues. To the extent that parents face these same issues, they may either ignore them in their children or feel like they cannot address them because they struggle with the same issues.

     

    In October and November, Wonderopolis is going to feature a series of health-related Wonders of the Day on Wednesdays. They will contain a lot of great wellness information for parents and children.

     

    Duane

    Wonderopolis

    • Re: How do you talk about weight concerns with your child?
      Jane Brown Master
      Currently Being Moderated

      That will be exciting!  In the meantime, perhaps parents will share ideas they have read or have tried. I learn so much from reading the responses in this group and from watching my son and daughter-in-law approach this particular issue with their children, Lily and Jax.

       

      Will and Leslie have always watched what their children were given to eat, checking first for allergic reactions, and then for health value. Now that Lily is three and notices what they eat that she doesn't, they are approaching this issue with a family approach to healthy eating and excercise: reduced portion size, exercise, limitations on eating out, and bringing lots of fruits and vegetables into the house.

       

      I do think the United States Department of Agriculture's new visuals at ChooseMyPlate.gov is a great place to find a Tip of the Day plus interactives and visuals that teachers and parents alike can use with their children.

       

      I hope parents will check out First Lady Michelle Obama's initiative Let's Move website for more ideas.

    • Re: How do you talk about weight concerns with your child?
      kscarpato New User
      Currently Being Moderated

      I think the focus should be on creating healthy habits and not the weight of the child.  Children know if they are overweight and will try things to hide it.  This summer my son started to pull his shirt why down to cover his behind and I talked to him about his self imagine and having confidence in his body.  We exercise, eat right, and maintain a healthy lifestyle so as we continue to model this behavior, my children will see that you don't have to be a model to have a good self imagine.  It is a learning process that we started three years ago and now he selects the right food to eat on him own.   Hopefully all the time:)

      • Re: How do you talk about weight concerns with your child?
        Lynne Hoffman Apprentice
        Currently Being Moderated

        Hi Kathy,

         

        I wholeheartedly agree with you.  I like your idea of focusing on healthy habits and not the child's weight.  I grew up in an era when my parents would not let me leave the table until I had cleaned my plate.  Consequently, I still eat everything on my plate thinking it is wasteful to leave any food.  This habit is probably ingrained for life. 

         

        My grandmother also baked numerous pies and cakes every week so I had a snack when I came home from school and then enjoyed another dessert at suppertime if I "cleaned my plate."  Of course, it was an insult to my grandmother if I did not eat her baked goods.  Thus, I am a "chocaholic' to this day, and I love sweets. 

         

        As you might guess, fighting the overweight "blues" has been a constant struggle in my life since childhood.  If I had been encouraged to eat less and exercise more, my weight problem might have been avoided.

         

        I might add--thank goodness for Weight Watchers and the YMCA (the YWCA closed in my city).  Controlling my portions and working out most days is the only way I can control my weight today.

         

        Lynne

  • Re: How do you talk about weight concerns with your child?
    kscarpato New User
    Currently Being Moderated

    I was at my son's back to school night and the Health teacher said this generation will be the first that will not out last their parents!  Pretty scary and I think we need to come togehter to help our children make better choices in their exercise routines, eating habits, and overall care of themselves.  School and parents need to make this a group effort because without the support from both sides, this issue is going to get worse!

  • Re: How do you talk about weight concerns with your child?
    Lynne Hoffman Apprentice
    Currently Being Moderated

    Common Sense Media wrote in their weekly parent post (January 17, 2013) about image tips for boys and girls who are struggling with the question "Am I Too Fat?"

     

    For tips for boys, check out Boys and Body Image Tips that offers a video along with some advice and answers to help boys improve their self-image.  The article discusses why boys are concerned about body image and makes suggestions for parents in how to deal with boys at elementary, middle, and high school age.  The article also includes these tips for parents with boys at any age:

    • Make health a habit. If you take care of yourself, you'll help your kids appreciate all that our bodies can do. By fostering a healthy lifestyle, you're helping your kids resist extreme dieting messages.
    • If your kids are struggling with body image, you might share your own insecurities and how you dealt with them. You want your kids to know that you understand. After all, this is just the beginning of a life-long dialogue.
    • Keep an eye on your kid's social networks, texts, and other online comments. The online environment carries some risks because boys can feed their obsession in isolation. Bodybuilding and fitness forums can promote risky training and unattainable body ideals that boys may pursue without checking with their doctor or coach. Also, boys can expose themselves to constant criticism by posting photos of themselves. Pay attention to what they're doing online.

     

    For tips about girls, check out Girls and Body Image Tips that offers a video along with some advice and answers to help girls improve their self-image.  The article discusses why girls are concerned about body image and makes suggestions for parents in how to deal with girls at elementary, middle, and high school age.  The article also includes these tips for parents with girls at any age:

    • Watch what you say. When you spend a lot of time talking about dieting or criticizing your own body, your daughter is listening. You are still your daughter's biggest role model. If you take care of yourself, you'll help your kids appreciate all that our bodies can do.
    • If your kids are struggling with body image, you might share your own insecurities and how you dealt with them. You want your kids to know that you understand. After all, this is just the beginning of a life-long dialogue.
    • Keep an eye on your kid's social networks, texts, and other online comments. Today's kids are living in a constant feedback loop of criticism. They can post, send, and read comments about their friends and themselves instantly -- and many take advantage of anonymity and online distance to insult one another's weight and appearance. (Learn how one mom dealt with these kinds of comments on Formspring.)
    • Keep an eye on their selfies. No parent wants to see sexy photos of their daughter (or her friends). But selfies are a popular activity with some teens. Explain the risks -- and if you can't get them to stop, at least make sure they use strict privacy settings.


    After looking at these resources and talking with you sons/daughters, do you have any tips to add to the suggestions referenced in this post?

    Were any of these tips helpful?  Please share your experiences.

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