Thursday, June 10, 2010

God Save Me

From tween girls. I honestly can't even claim that mine are actually tweens because they're only going to be 6 and 9 by the end of summer. But they have surely been acting like it lately. Just this morning I had a conversation with Sweet Pea about her fat thighs - her words, not mine. I swear to you, my child has always been tall and if I can pinch an inch of fat off of her I'd be surprised. She lucked up and got Zilla's metabolism in the genetic mix. But somehow, somewhere she's got it in her head that she's fat.

And she's past the issue right on down to Baby Girl. She immediately chimed in with how fat she was, too. She's not yet six! And this morning wasn't the first time I've heard it from her. Now granted, she's smaller and will probably have to battle her weight like I do when she gets older but she sure as heck is not fat right now. She's too active (my issues cropped up when I started spending most of my days on my rear in front of a computer). Neither of my children are fat by anyone's standards.

At first I laughed it off. I told them in no uncertain terms they weren't fat, but I laughed it off as just girl stuff. I mean, who didn't worry about her waistline in high school? But they aren't in high school. And this subject has come up more than once. After further discussions I've realized some of this is coming from the other girls at school - not that they're saying my kids are overweight but that they themselves are. Jeez, that makes me sad. These girls aren't even in the double digits and they're already focused so hard on body image.

Unfortunately, I think I've probably added to the issue unintentionally. I do battle with my weight and am off and on diets on a regular basis. I mean I try not to make a big deal about it but it's hard to miss when mommy's eating something different for dinner than everyone else.

This whole issue is making me question society's view of body image - for myself and the girls. I honestly don't want them growing up worrying about every bite of food they put in their mouths. That just sucks all the fun out of life - and eating. Not to mention that one of Sweet Pea's favorite things is to cook. She spends so much time watching Food Network that we call her the little Rachel Ray. She enjoys food. I don't want that to change because someone says the scale should be a certain number.

I don't want to make this into a bigger issue than it is so I've taken the low key approach of being adamant that they aren't fat and don't need to worry about their weight only when they bring the subject up. Anyone have other suggestions for handling the situation? Are my girls the only ones bringing weight into their sphere of existence long before I expected them to (or think they should)? Was I just a weird child and this really is normal?



Cheryl said...

I don't have any sage advice to give you. My son, who is now twenty-three, fought a weight problem all through high school, suffering the jeers and jibes from other kids (it's cruel and heartbreaking to hear). We did everything to try and help but he had to decide to face the issue. When he did, he changed his eating habits, worked out and dropped nearly 86 pounds and is now svelte and toned. I guess what I am saying that as a Mom it's hard to know what is the right thing to do; you want to fix it but sometimes you can't. Your girls, thank heavens, don't have that problem. Trust your instincts, just as you are doing. There is sooo much peer pressure about body image out there, even for young kids. I don't think you're weird, just concerned.

Problem Child said...

I've tried very hard not to pass along my weight issues to AC. I haven't necessarily succeeded, but I've tried to emphasize the "healthy" aspect of keeping a good weight and eating right over the aesthetics of body image.

It's tough, though, when even the Disney channel has teens obsessing over body image.

Just keep trying, though. As you know from dealing with me, just saying "You're not fat" doesn't work. You have to stress the positive, like what her body can do over what it looks like, so they'll take pride in their body's ability to do stuff, not just look good.

Word verif: worysot. Yeah, I'm the worry sort.

Angel said...

We've only had a little bit of this with Drama Queen, and it seems to have run its course quickly. I also emphasized that she was by no means fat, in a healthy percentile according to the doctor, and she was active. We did talk a lot about healthy food, because all mine want to eat is junk. I think that made a big impact, even though she won't necessarily try vegetables, she'll ask me if certain foods are healthy or not and why.

I dread middle school and up, because I know this issue will come back up.


Playground Monitor said...

I didn't have daughters so I never had to deal with this, though from Cheryl's comment it's obviously not a female-only issue. The others have given you good advice though.

I'm sick of the emphasis on being stick thin and am having body image issues of my own right now. Stress does some way crazy things to your mind and body, and I really don't like the number on the size tag in my clothes right now.

Smarty Pants said...

Just wait until they're thirteen.

*praying for boys*

Liza said...

My grandmother actually told my sister her youngest(age 6) was fat this weekend. Youngest is in no way fat, but she isn't as tiny as either of her sisters were at that age. She is also about 4-5 inches taller than either were at that age. Middle heard my grandmother talking and just about freaked out. My grandmother is the one that made Middle think she was fat when she was that same age and she still suffers from weight issues to this day(not needed either).

Of course, my grandmother pretty much went after everyone in the family this past weekend about their weight. She is 91 so really not much you can say to her, but my 2 oldest nieces really got mad about her talking about their little sister.

catslady said...

What is it with grandmothers!!! My first child was always extremely thin and my second child was normal but my mom would call her fat!!!! It still upsets me. My oldest is 26 and my youngest 23. The oldest is an inch taller and they both weigh the same - maybe 107.

My mom was a skinny child so anything less than that she thinks is fat. I always thought I was fat for the same reason. I was 110 for the longest time (and 3 inches taller).