Monday, May 11, 2009

What NOT to do if your kid is fat

a) Don't lock the cupboards or fridge. The food will become like crack and they will find a way to get it, even if they have to steal. Frankly, this is basically not only encouraging, but begging them to steal, in my opinion.

b) Don't eat in front of them/make fun of them. They *will* learn to hate you, even if they love you--trust me on this one. However, they will also be hurt, and ultimately hate themselves even more.

c) Don't berate them about exercising or force them to exercise while you watch. Exercise WITH them. Do active things as a family. Teach them that they have the right to enjoy their body's movement without ridicule, no matter what shape, size, or athletic ability it is. Focus on the body's health, NOT its appearance.

d) Teach them that beauty is more than the size on the waistband of their jeans, and that fat does NOT mean ugly. They don't have to hide or be sorry they are who they are, just be the best them they can be. Don't compare them to their skinnier sister/neighbor/acquaintance/friend. Don't treat them like a freak. Different people are different sizes and no body shape is morally superior to another. I implore you to get some !@#$$%^& therapy if you don't believe this yourself.

e) Deal with your own food issues and prejudices openly and honestly. If your kid sees you being actively bulimic, berating yourself because of your weight, etc., and not actively working to change those negative patterns, it will negatively affect them as well. Showing them your own struggle and humanity would be a gift beyond imagining. If you practice "those who can't do, teach", it is just crazymaking and not good for anyone. And for God's sake, don't make fun of fat people. It isn't any more okay to make fun of fat people than it is people of color, disabled people, gay people or whatever. You should have learned this in grade school or before, but if you're a fat bigot, get over yourself. If YOU have some internalized self-hatred because you're fat, GET SOME HELP and quit poisoning your poor kid so s/he has a chance!

f) Teach them about nutrition. Learn about it together if you need to. It isn't enough to learn about it--buy and eat the nutritious food, too. If you have a house full of Hostess cakes and Doritos and sugared soda and you have a fat kid, what do you expect?

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This blog focuses largely on a personal journey to and through weight-loss surgery. It's also about reading, writing, animals, photography, love, humor, music, thinking out loud, and memes. In other
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