Here’s the thing about kids saying they hate their bodies that nobody talks about…it’s not their size, in a vacuum, that triggers it.
It’s knowing that being over a certain size makes life a lot harder,
that triggers their sense of not fitting in,
that triggers it.
Every time I tell a room of parents, “when your child tells you they’re Fat (like that’s a terrible thing to be),
…the answer should never be “No you’re not!”…”
Because it’s the answer everyone’s been giving. And we give it…
“Because in our hearts, we know that being over a certain size makes life a lot harder…
We get unjustly assumed to be lazier, less healthy, less capable, less intelligent, less attractive, less worthy of friendship…
… and we want to protect our children from that pain .”
Of course we do – we love them.
But telling them they’re not “fat” does two things…
It tells them YOU think being fat is TERRIBLE and sends the message that if they end up being (or already are) a bigger-bodied person, you won’t like it, you won’t love them quite so much…
That they can’t trust you with their feelings because you’ll tell them their feeling are wrong.
Fear of our kids gaining weight is why we want to tell them they’re not.
Fear of our kids gaining weight backs us up against a wall and says “you have to protect them from that,”
Have a thin child or you’re a bad parent.
So you tell them they’re “not” to try and protect them from the pain of not fitting in,
And that’s when the cycle begins.
that’s when they stop telling us how they feel,
that’s when they get how even their parents won’t like them if they get fat (or already are),
that’s when they feel like they don’t have a choice but to try and fix the body they have,
because fitting in in our world depends on it.
And then it’s just a matter of time…
before they start really hating their body.…
If, in our heart of hearts, we’re really only okay with our kid at a certain weight, it’s like we’re saying:
“You won’t even fit-in in here, in your family, unless you are a certain weight.”
A child feeling isolated is the almost certain outcome of telling them they ‘are not fat’.
Is body acceptance and body confidence for your kids something you’re keen to work on? Are you willing to let go of health and wellness ideas that cause harm, to get to the other side?
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