Back Off With Your Body Shaming

As a parent promoting health, wellness and good eating habits can at times be difficult. They go through phases of wanting to stuff their faces to deciding they’re a vegetarian or will only eat food that has no vowels it’s it’s name. Or something similar.

You try to tell them that they’re beautiful/perfect as they are. You want them to be happy in themselves. But they get these stupid ideas that they’re not. They – like all of us can have self-esteem issues.

Weight discrimination has increased a whopping amount over the past decade, and is comparable to rates of other discrimination, perhaps especially among women. Weight bias affects the workplace, media, healthcare, schools, and yes, family life. How many times do you pick up a magazine and see page to page of skinny models? Even when shopping you see a size12/14 model advertising a ‘plus size’ range. Yeh right. Fuck off.

Our daughter is 15. She’s quite small (sorry my genes) at 4’11 and is a UK size 6. She does not look under or overweight. She looks just right. (This is not bias). She disagrees – she thinks she’s fat. Not in the she’s going to extremes to make herself lose weight way, but still. It really pisses me off. Whoever these dickheads are that have made her feel this way need a good slap. It’s not come from us (her brother occasionally calls her fat but that’s merely because he’s 9 and knows which buttons to push) so I automatically think it comes from the media or schools.

Both underweight and overweight kids and teens are often physically bullied, taunted, and excluded by peers, family members, teachers, and other authority figures. Not only does this criticism and public pressure cause a lot of emotional and mental pain it can lead to eating disorders, o depression, damaged self-esteem, poor body image, and even suicide.

While our daughter is not being bullied and will still happily shove a big piece of cake in her mouth 🙂  (not to self: bake more cakes) I am worried about her self esteem and what effect this stupid body shaming that seems endless will have on her in the future.

So what can we do as parents?

After the Playground
  1. 5 months ago
    Nicky Kentisbeer

    Yep it’s a difficult one and something we hear more and more about. We have always tried to steer clear of the words ‘fat’ at home. You really think it’s not going to come to your child (especially when they are rakes) – yet my daughter has started to dislike certain parts of herself. Not too worried because on the whole, she is pretty pleased with the way she looks – bloody fantastic I say, because there will be plenty of knocks over the forthcoming years. When I was a school I was ridiculed for being skinny and was very self-conscious. I wanted to be bigger. I wish someone would call me skinny now! Thanks for joining #tweensteensbeyond Nicky

  2. 5 months ago
    Mary Mayfield

    I saw an interesting article on this subject a few days ago. It basically was saying that as so much of body image is about perception rather than reality, we should never indulge in body-shaming or say anyone looks fat – whether that’s an obese person in the street, or a comment on our personal desire to lose some pounds to look good on the beach. How many times do we do it though without thinking? A dress is too tight, we say we need to drop a size. Last year’s shorts won’t button up – we need to diet.
    I’ve no idea if the theory has any affect but it’s interesting food for thought

  3. 5 months ago
    Sarah MumofThree World

    That’s a good question and there’s no good answer! Just continue to tell them they’re perfect as they are, feed them a balanced and varied menu (not easy with fussy kids, I know), encourage them to exercise and lead by example – make sure parents are doing the same!

  4. 5 months ago
    Jo - Mother of Teenagers

    I have written a lot about this and only this morning my daughter asked me if there was such a thing as skinny shaming. She is uber thin (naturally) despite eating like a horse but worries that people will think she is too thin. The whole weight issue is big amongst their age group and only last week we had an email from her school warning us about an app which encourages girls to lose weight by consuming just 700 calories a day, totally mad. As parents we can only help to maintain positive messages about body image and encourage a healthy attitude to food and fitness and hope that our message will prevail over all the other nonsense that is out there. #TweensTeensBeyond

  5. 5 months ago
    Amy @ Arty apple

    I have had this conversation with my friend so many times. I’m not sure what the answer is but put it this way, I’m dreading my kids being exposed to social media x

  6. 5 months ago
    Sharon Parry

    It’s such a difficult one and I don’t have the answers. As you say, it does not always work just telling them that they are beautiful. I was really skinny as a teen and I’m not very big now but I have never been on a diet in my life. This was a great read, thanks so much for sharing with us at #TweensTeensBeyond

  7. 5 months ago

    i think it’s very sad that people feel the need to body shame, however i think we are all guilty of measuring ourselves against others

  8. 4 months ago

    So tricky. They’re all so hard on themselves and each other. And it’s not just weight. My daughter despises every little imperfection as she sees them, though she doesn’t notice those of other people. And I’m sure they’re all the same. All I can do is let her know that she is beautiful, that her differences are what make her who she is, and the same goes for everyone else she knows. And that health is more important than anything.


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