How do you think is the right way to talk to your kids about weight?
This is both a tricky and scary question since according to data released by the Keep It Real campaign, approximately 80 percent of all 10-year-old girls have dieted at least once in their lives.
Do you find that statistic concerning? It breaks my heart. It tells me way too many girls (and boys too) are soaking in all the ads and social media hype on body imagine. They are not comfortable in their own skin because their skin doesn’t look like the cropped, topped and photoshopped images they see plastered on the magazine covers in the grocery store aisle.
But what if your child really does have a weight issue? You see them consuming more than they need and your mom heart fears they are setting themselves up for a pattern that will last a lifetime?
When or how do you talk to your child about weight?
I loved the advice I recently read in CookingLight in their June 2015 magazine:
“…the best way to talk to your child about weight: Don’t mention it. At all. Ever.” according to Jerica Berge, PhD at University of Minnesota Twin Cities.
“When parents focus on weight with comments…that language was actually associated with a higher rate of obesity.” says Berge.
I know we have all experienced times when we have been concerned about the foods our children are consuming. When I quit homeschooling and my kids went to public school, it was hard for me not to freak out at all the unhealthy choices they could make every day. The loss of control scared me. In fact, I let the fear I had compel me to I put a hold on their lunch accounts so they couldn’t get anything sugar related. Period. I’m not so sure that was the best thing I could have done for my kids. (Boy, I sure do a lot of admitting of failure on this blog!)
Berge goes on to say, “When a child’s parents encourage him or her to diet, that child was at higher risk for binge-eating, low self-esteem, and, in the case of overweight kids, depression. Diet talk from dads was particularly damaging and was linked to both weight gain and eating disorders.”
Oh how I wished I had read this when my kids were younger! I was the mom who hid the sugary treats from my kids (as if they didn’t know where I kept them). Honestly, I also hid them from myself. You know the old: “out of sight out of mind” type of thing. I believe my behavior communicated that eating sugary treats is bad, therefore, if you eat them, you better hide it.
As my kids got older, I did get wiser. We have begun eating very healthy food, which is not only good for our bodies, but good for our outlook on food as well.
What do you think? Do you agree with Dr. Berge? How do you handle food issues and weight discussions in your home?
Tomorrow let’s talk about: the “why” behind kids’ choice to diet.
The winner of the “How to Love Your Neighbor Without Being Weird” prize pack is Dot who posted at 10:11 a.m. on 5/29. Congratulations, Dot! Please send your full name and address to Amy@howtoloveyourneighbor.com and she’ll get it right out to you. Thank you so much, Amy!