So do you risk talking to her about fat?

  • Thread starter jackmell
  • Start date
  • #1
1,796
53
I mean when she's what 6,7, 8, or 9 or even earlier. Or do you just say nothing about it and just let whatever happen, happen or even worst, handle it improperly throughout her adolescent life?

It's quite a bit more than just talking about it once of course. Gotta' guide her along a healthy path without upsetting her, like for example having very little junk food in the house, and not making a big deal about it. Delicate operation for sure and things could go horribly wrong. Still though, I'd risk explaining to her just what's involved with . . . being fat.

Would you?
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
alt
Gold Member
202
0
I mean when she's what 6,7, 8, or 9 or even earlier. Or do you just say nothing about it and just let whatever happen, happen or even worst, handle it improperly throughout her adolescent life?

It's quite a bit more than just talking about it once of course. Gotta' guide her along a healthy path without upsetting her, like for example having very little junk food in the house, and not making a big deal about it. Delicate operation for sure and things could go horribly wrong. Still though, I'd risk explaining to her just what's involved with . . . being fat.

Would you?
What's delicate ? Why not upset her ?

Two ways to ensure your kids don't get fat;

1) Have good fresh food in the house - minimal junk food
2) Get them involved in a very physical sport from those early ages you mentioned

It worked for my four.

But to answer your question. My 20 year old daughter left her sport a few years ago, when she finished school. She thus became much less active, though still very busy in her new job, studies, etc.

About a year ago she statred looking decidedly plumb.

"You're getting FAT, girl - get yourself out - go for a jog, join a gymn - do something or soon, there'll be two of you"

Hounded her several times in this way. About a month later, she was jogging, gymn, etc. Back to looking a stunner !
 
  • #3
lisab
Staff Emeritus
Science Advisor
Gold Member
1,887
616
I appreciate the delicacy of the situation. From the sounds of alt's post, his household is more of a rough-and-tumble style. Not every family is like that.

What age of kid are we talking about? It's quite normal for girls to plump up in the year before they go through adolescence.

Also, at the risk of being insensitive - what's your own physical condition, and that of other family members (especially mom)? It's going to be hard to harp on a kid about a few extra pounds if you have some to shed, as well.
 
  • #4
alt
Gold Member
202
0
I mean when she's what 6,7, 8, or 9 or even earlier. Or do you just say nothing about it and just let whatever happen, happen or even worst, handle it improperly throughout her adolescent life?

It's quite a bit more than just talking about it once of course. Gotta' guide her along a healthy path without upsetting her, like for example having very little junk food in the house, and not making a big deal about it. Delicate operation for sure and things could go horribly wrong. Still though, I'd risk explaining to her just what's involved with . . . being fat.

Would you?
I appreciate the delicacy of the situation. From the sounds of alt's post, his household is more of a rough-and-tumble style. Not every family is like that.

What age of kid are we talking about? It's quite normal for girls to plump up in the year before they go through adolescence.

Also, at the risk of being insensitive - what's your own physical condition, and that of other family members (especially mom)? It's going to be hard to harp on a kid about a few extra pounds if you have some to shed, as well.
No, not at all - my family is very well ordered and functional - no rough and tumble, other than in fun. I simply but firmly beleive you will do more damage to a childs mentality in hiding a problem for fear of damaging them, than confronting it. Small pain up front verses years of mumbo jumbo !

Agree wholeheartedly with your last sentence.

Here's another major tip about kids;

Rather than do as you say, they will do as they see you do !
 
  • #5
1,796
53
What age of kid are we talking about? It's quite normal for girls to plump up in the year before they go through adolescence.
I'm referring to very young girls of course, when you can really have an impact on her, like before 13 or so. The danger of course is if you handle it poorly and she develops an eating disorder.

But it's important for mom and dad to have healthy habits too. However, I think even that, some girls will become overweight no matter what you do. Have to be willing to accept that if it happens and not put pressure on her to "get skinny" and only make it worst because often they can't loose the weight (permanently) unless they take drastic measures.

It's a serious issue for girls, the fat thing. I believe mom and dad should really try and address it starting at a very young age but delicately.
 
  • #6
lisab
Staff Emeritus
Science Advisor
Gold Member
1,887
616
No, not at all - my family is very well ordered and functional - no rough and tumble, other than in fun. I simply but firmly beleive you will do more damage to a childs mentality in hiding a problem for fear of damaging them, than confronting it. Small pain up front verses years of mumbo jumbo !

Agree wholeheartedly with your last sentence.

Here's another major tip about kids;

Rather than do as you say, they will do as they see you do !
'Rough and tumble' is a poor choice of words on my part, I don't mean physically abusive. More like how you describe - honesty and openness...and not a lot of tact, maybe :smile:. Lots of families have that sort of culture, I don't think it's bad at all.

A well-adjusted 20-year-old may be OK with being warned about getting fat; such a direct warning would probably not work as well with a girl as young as 6, though.
 
  • #7
alt
Gold Member
202
0
'Rough and tumble' is a poor choice of words on my part, I don't mean physically abusive. More like how you describe - honesty and openness...and not a lot of tact, maybe :smile:. Lots of families have that sort of culture, I don't think it's bad at all.

A well-adjusted 20-year-old may be OK with being warned about getting fat; such a direct warning would probably not work as well with a girl as young as 6, though.
Cool - I didn't for a moment think you meant physically abusive :-)

Agree with your last.
 
  • #8
turbo
Gold Member
3,077
46
I have a neighbor who is quite overweight, and she has two daughters 5 and 7. Their grandfather built them a huge playground with timber-framed swing-set, slide, monkey bars, and balance equipment. They are very active little girls and they are not even a little bit overweight. They are also aware of the complications that obesity can entail, since their great-grandmother and great-grandfather are diabetic. They are too young for lectures, IMO, but they are not too young to exercise by having fun, or to learn good eating habits. When my wife and I have them down here and it's snack-time, snacks are often cherry tomatoes, carrot sticks, cucumber spears, with low-fat dressings to dip them in. They love it. Their grandfather has peach, plum, and apple trees on the property so at this time of the year, the kids can have fresh fruit anytime without raiding the 'fridge.
 
  • #9
DaveC426913
Gold Member
19,099
2,613
"You're getting FAT, girl - get yourself out - go for a jog, join a gymn - do something or soon, there'll be two of you"

Hounded her several times in this way. About a month later, she was jogging, gymn, etc. Back to looking a stunner !
I would say this is by far the exception rather than the rule. 99% of the time this will backfire.

1] Parents especially should never criticize a child's weight. There is no end to the lineup of adults whose issues can be traced back to parents who criticized their appearance, even lovingly.

2] If you really feel you must intervene, then lead by example, or at least directly facilitate. Sign up at a gym yourself doing something fun. Get them interested in the social or play aspect of it. Get them into a sport. If not yourself, then try to facilitate them having friends to go with. Drive them, get them equipment, pay for everything. Make it an enjoyable experience.
 
  • #10
575
47
I won't even introduce my kids to junk food. If they don't know about junk food, they can't be disappointed with cantaloupe. The sweetest thing they'll be eating will be a banana, and even then they won't be able to finish it, because it's too sweet compared to the usual celery they're going to be eating. For breakfast, there will be no Lucky Charms, there will be plain oatmeal and maybe some raisins in it, if they've behaved. They won't even know donuts and ice cream exist, so they'll be happy.
 
  • #11
lisab
Staff Emeritus
Science Advisor
Gold Member
1,887
616
I won't even introduce my kids to junk food. If they don't know about junk food, they can't be disappointed with cantaloupe. The sweetest thing they'll be eating will be a banana, and even then they won't be able to finish it, because it's too sweet compared to the usual celery they're going to be eating. For breakfast, there will be no Lucky Charms, there will be plain oatmeal and maybe some raisens in it, if they've behaved. They won't even know donuts and ice cream exist.
That's exactly how I raised my daughter, and it worked...until kindergarten. The day before she started school, she couldn't get through a cupcake because it was too sweet; by first grade she was no different from the other kids. Because every birthday or holiday, there would be "treats" brought in for the kids. The very fact that crap food was called "treats" says a *lot*!

But we still didn't eat a lot of sweets at home, and that's far more influential, imo.
 
  • #12
Evo
Mentor
23,173
2,915
I wouldn't talk about body image and tell someone that young that putting on weight will make them fat = ugly and unwanted.

Is this your own child you're talking to? Some other children? That makes a difference. If it's your own child, that's simple, you cook healthy, and explain to them the requirements (calories, food choices, exercise) that makes a healthy body and the benefits of maintaining a healthy body. Make it about feeling good and being healthy, never about appearance and acceptance.
 
  • #13
DaveC426913
Gold Member
19,099
2,613
I won't even introduce my kids to junk food.
My first thought was: "leroy has kids?"
My second thought was: "Not a chance. If he did, he'd be saying exactly what lisab said."
...it worked...until kindergarten.

I wouldn't talk about body image and tell someone that young that putting on weight will make them fat = ugly and unwanted.

Is this your own child you're talking to? Some other children? That makes a difference. If it's your own child, that's simple, you cook healthy, and explain to them the requirements (calories, food choices, exercise) that makes a healthy body and the benefits of maintaining a healthy body. Make it about feeling good and being healthy, never about appearance and acceptance.
jackmell, this is the best advice.
 
  • #14
1,564
6
Let me start out by saying that I used to be really fat. In elementary school all the way up to the high school I was always known as "that fat kid". It wasn't until I started being out of the house and became independent that I started to lose weight and get in shape.

When I was young my mother would always tell me I was fat and that I needed to lose weight and sometimes just flat out yell at me. She would try and force me into doing things like karate or fat camp or something like that. Then she would go grocery shopping and fill the kitchen with garbage like hot pockets and soda and do absolutely nothing in terms of exercise. Once I grew up and started being on my own I dropped the weight pretty fast and started living a healthy lifestyle. Now she complains that I'm too skinny and eat too healthy! :grumpy:

My point is set an example. Do you eat healthy? Do you exercise on a regular basis? What kind of foods do you keep in the house? Generally fat parents have fats kids, and its not because of genetics. If you want your kids to have a healthy lifestyle you should teach by example, not by lecture.
 
  • #16
Gokul43201
Staff Emeritus
Science Advisor
Gold Member
7,051
18
  • #17
1,796
53
I wouldn't talk about body image and tell someone that young that putting on weight will make them fat = ugly and unwanted.

Is this your own child you're talking to? Some other children? That makes a difference. If it's your own child, that's simple, you cook healthy, and explain to them the requirements (calories, food choices, exercise) that makes a healthy body and the benefits of maintaining a healthy body. Make it about feeling good and being healthy, never about appearance and acceptance.
But fat does equal ugly and unwanted in many parts of American society. However, the effect is often hidden and implicit but it's there nevertheless. I'm just being realistic. It's cruel but true.

Yes I would engage my daughter at six or so and start talking to her not only about the health part but also about the social problems it causes. However I didn't but she's always been skinny so didn't have the problem.

But what about the parents that do have children that are overweight? It's heartbreaking for them I believe to see their child suffering (because of how society treats them) especially the girls. For example, I'm sitting outside the bank and this fat girls walks out the door and just looks down as she passes me by. Well, I don't expect all women to look at me but I could tell from her face and expression that she thought, "I'm too fat for you to be interested in me". That seriously hurts a woman and they hide it well.

I am utterly convinced that those parents that watch the suffering their overweight daughters go through, would say, "yes Jack, if only I knew, I would have risked it and started to talk to her about a girls appearance early, even at four, and would have taught her (gently), and led by example so that she may not have become overweight because I know how much it hurts her."
 
  • #18
turbo
Gold Member
3,077
46
I think placing an emphasis on body-image in the minds of young children can be destructive, leading to eating disorders and self-esteem problems. Better to give them a good balanced diet and encourage lots of physical activities than to implant negatives (If you get fat, people will think less of you.) in their minds. You don't even have to accentuate the "health" aspects if you get them into good habits early.
 
  • #19
Gokul43201
Staff Emeritus
Science Advisor
Gold Member
7,051
18
But fat does equal ugly and unwanted in many parts of American society. However, the effect is often hidden and implicit but it's there nevertheless. I'm just being realistic. It's cruel but true.

Yes I would engage my daughter at six or so and start talking to her not only about the health part but also about the social problems it causes.
How far would you want your daughter to go to conform to the pressures of societal norms? And why?

For instance, would you encourage her to conform to the cruel reality that she will probably be branded a geek and might never have any "cool friends" if she aces all her subjects in middle/high school?
 
  • #20
601
0
I don't get it why people are dandying girls so much while if this was about getting a boy to start exercising people would just tell you to tell him the truth. I think a huge reason why the disparages between the sexes are so large is because just about everyone is treating girls as if they were more delicate than boys, both emotionally and physically.

Look, they only develop things like eating disorders if they are not secure with who they are. If they aren't depending on others to like them they wont do that. But somehow many girls have gotten the idea that if they only look good enough they will be popular which isn't true at all. Even the best looking of girls aren't that popular if they are totally insecure and got nothing else that is interesting.

What you should teach the girl is that getting into shape is a really good investment for life. People treat you better if you are in shape, you will feel better and be happier if you are in shape and you live longer as an extra bonus. But it isn't the key to become popular, that is about their personality and attitude more than anything else.
For instance, would you encourage her to conform to the cruel reality that she will probably be branded a geek and might never have any "cool friends" if she aces all her subjects in middle/high school?
That isn't true, you can ace all of your subjects without being called a geek in most places, as I said it is more about your attitude and personality more than anything else. People who put a lot of weight on education are called geeks and that isn't strange at all and it doesn't matter if those people ace tests or not, but you can ace all tests without really thinking that it is important either and then you wont get called a geek.
 
  • #21
DaveC426913
Gold Member
19,099
2,613
For example, I'm sitting outside the bank and this fat girls walks out the door and just looks down as she passes me by. Well, I don't expect all women to look at me but I could tell from her face and expression that she thought, "I'm too fat for you to be interested in me"
More likely what she was thinking was "He's looking at me just the way my father used to look at me when he criticized me."
 
  • #22
1,796
53
More likely what she was thinking was "He's looking at me just the way my father used to look at me when he criticized me."
I wasn't looking at her disparagingly and would have smiled at her had she looked.

How about at the clubs? Lots of pretty girls although there are sometimes a few well . . . kinda fat ones and you know they're suffering because they're with their girl friends that get them to go and you know they are self-conscious about their weight. And the only time they dance is when the girls all dance together on the floor. The guys don't show the fat ones attention and don't dance with them, and they just go home hurt.

Come one, no dad wants that to happen to his daughter. Then risk it.

I don't condone in any way pressuring a girl to be thin or harassing her. Parents need to be wise enough to try and help but not force or intimidate. There is a right way without traumatizing her or pushing her towards an eating disorder I am sure of it and I can't say I know how exactly but I think parents should make them aware of the problem before it's mostly too late.

It's just my personal opinion.
 
  • #23
180
1
Go for family walks, three times a week, for about an hour at a time.
 
  • #24
1,796
53
How far would you want your daughter to go to conform to the pressures of societal norms? And why?
I would talk to her about the pressures of society including how society judges a woman to a significant degree, by how she looks, then empower her to make her own decisions, within reason, even at an early age because I think it's important to give her a sense of "control" over her life so that she can learn to become independent and confident as opposed to having a dominating parent that she's afraid of and causes her to be timid and fearful. I say let her get her way and support her making decisions for herself. Strong little girl. That's it! :)
 
  • #25
DaveC426913
Gold Member
19,099
2,613
How about at the clubs? Lots of pretty girls although there are sometimes a few well . . . kinda fat ones and you know they're suffering because they're with their girl friends that get them to go and you know they are self-conscious about their weight. And the only time they dance is when the girls all dance together on the floor. The guys don't show the fat ones attention and don't dance with them, and they just go home hurt.
jackmell, you have issues about fat women. Your posts belie this. You are not writing about your daughter at all, you are writing about the women you see around you, and projecting your fears onto them.

It's fine to have issues when you have only yourself. But are now projecting your issues onto your child.

This is bad. But it is a classic parent folly.

For the sake of your daughter, recognize that this issue belongs to you, not to her.
 

Related Threads on So do you risk talking to her about fat?

  • Poll
  • Last Post
2
Replies
43
Views
12K
  • Last Post
2
Replies
32
Views
11K
Replies
24
Views
34K
  • Last Post
Replies
7
Views
2K
Replies
21
Views
3K
Replies
62
Views
5K
Replies
3
Views
2K
Replies
6
Views
2K
  • Last Post
2
Replies
29
Views
3K
Replies
13
Views
3K
Top