Weight and See
November 10, 2009 · Posted in Adult Children, Feeding, K-5 Kids, Media, Parenting, Preschoolers · Permalink

Pair of big heavy dumbbells over white backgroundBody image, weight, eating habits and health is now a thoroughly unavoidable minefield for ourselves and our children.  The culture is now poly-partially-nonhydrogenatedly saturated in intensity about our bodies. Perfectly healthy girls and boys as young as four worry about being fat while a vast number of people in our country overeat to the point of morbid obesity.  There is pressure for women to be sexy and slim (except their ‘bump’) during pregnancy and a culture that orders in, dines out and watches Food Network 24/7. Oye!

It is all very confusing and daunting. If it were as easy as modeling good habits for our children many of us would fare well. But what about the inner negative thoughts that most women and many men have when we are even a few pounds overweight? Pretty hard to get rid of those. The bottom line is that this struggle between the love of food and the pressure to be thin is just a fact of life. The problems of our food system and the media influence are here to stay.

So what to do? One thing is to not buy into the fact that there are choices you can make to fully protect your children from weight issues or body image issues.  You can set a pretty good example and have a pretty decent balance between discipline and indulgence and still have children who struggle with weight or thoughts about weight. There is no one rule like “no junk in the house”, or “don’t prohibit or your kids will seek it elsewhere in spades” that ensures anything.  We need to admit that the forces are greater than any one rule or philosophy so we don’t carry all the responsibility on our shoulders.

Try to stay in the middle path is the best we can suggest. Model moderation, exercise and encourage physical activity. Have swimming, hiking, skiing or bike riding be family activities, not just activities that you sign your children up for–they imitate you more than anything. Have family meals. Teach your children about advertising early on — show them how billboards and commercials trick you into wanting more and more and subtly convince you that you are not good enough as you are.  Once kids understand how advertising works it provides a bit of protection against the media and gives a sense of empowerment.

Most of all try and accept the fluctuations in your child’s weight and work on accepting their body type as you work on accepting yours. This is very hard work for most people, no matter what they weigh, or how they eat, so know you are in good company.

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Comments

  1. emily s.
    November 13th, 2009 | 11:46 am

    My mom tried started out ‘in the middle path’ when I was in elementary school, but her good intentions quickly turned into her passing her eating disorder down to me. By the time I was in high school, my mother was cooking separate meals for me and her while my brother and father ate like normal human beings. We even had separate snack drawers. My issues with food are still something I struggle with today.

  2. olivia
    November 15th, 2009 | 1:19 pm

    it feels like an impossible issue to handle well.

  3. Amber
    December 3rd, 2009 | 11:33 pm

    This is when I feel super grateful for having boys!

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