Would You Tell Your Daughter She's Fat?

At age 12, Charlotte Alter’s mother told her, very kindly, that she had put on a little weight. She’s now in her twenties, and states that because of her mother’s honesty it made her more aware of her body in a good way, and that she is now better equipped to deal with body image, having a more healthy and practical outlook on weight loss and nutrition. Treating weight as something that’s taboo can be confusing for some girls, so Charlotte’s mother told her that she looked like she had gained a couple of pounds, and that it was no big deal, and that she would help her figure it out. She suggested running two laps a day in the park, and skipping on dessert for two weeks. Says Charlotte, “The next time I asked her if I looked fat, she said I looked great, and I believed her”   [caption id="attachment_43833" align="alignnone" width="507"]Charlotte when she was young, with her siblings Charlotte when she was young, with her siblings[/caption] Parenting is hard for a lot of reasons, but in terms of body image it’s hard because you have to toe the line between accepting them for who they are no matter what, but guiding them into the best future they possibly can have, which includes a healthy lifestyle and attitude towards fitness. Also, this type of honesty can only be constructive when the relationship between mother and daughter is really strong. It’s great that it worked out for Charlotte, but girls who are teased, even good-naturedly, by their family members about weight are very prone to developing eating disorders. Of course as a parent you want them to avoid the suffering you went through if you were overweight, but that doesn’t mean you should impose your own hang-ups about food or obsessions about weight loss. It’s one thing to be concerned for your child’s health, but calling a child fat can set off deep insecurities. fatdaughtergraphic How Charlotte’s mother approached it was everything. To avoid a crippled psyche but to promote a healthy outlook on fitness, Mrs. Alter made helpful suggestions rather than forcing her daughter into a diet. Stress that they are beautiful the way they are, but if they want to lose weight then there’s certainly nothing wrong with that. Just as long as you don’t go all crazy about your child’s weight, like the Saturday Night Live Baby Spanx commercial sketch, you should be fine. fatdaughterSATURDAY-NIGHT-LIVE-BABY-SPANX

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