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?