When You Have a Fat Kid…

My doctor and I had a conversation this weekend with a mother. She had a 10 year old daughter who was a large 10 year old. She was probably around 5’4″ and was about 170lbs. When Mom was asked if her daughter’s illness had caused any weight gain or weight loss, she said, “No. I wish it would cause weight loss since I know she needs to lose weight, but she hasn’t.”

First of all, totally inappropriate to say in front of your daughter. I find it really discouraging when parents approach their children’s weight that way. I could just imagine the shame that poor girl was feeling as all these adults are in the room making a spectacle of her weight.

Then, the doctor tells Mom, “Make sure she’s active and that you’re feeding her healthy foods. She’s only 10 and you’re the mother. You get to decide what she eats.”

Mom goes on about how when she tries to pack her daughter a healthy lunch, she complains too much because her three brothers and sisters get a different lunch, but Mom says those kids don’t have a problem with their weight. The doctor tells her that it’s not about an all or nothing mindset and that she should be able to eat what she wants at times, but overall, she needs to be giving her fruits and vegetables and limiting junk food.

Mom continues on about how she has to buy junk food for her other kids so her daughter wants it too and it’s too hard to limit it. She says, “If I give her the choice of a pizza or vegetables, obviously she’s going to choose the pizza.”

To which I say, “You don’t give her a choice. There is no pizza. You give her vegetables.”

This is what amazes me. This mother can’t make healthy decisions for her children. As a parent, you make the decisions. And not only that, but you make the decisions for all of your kids. Why would three kids get pizza and one get veggies? All the kids can have veggies and healthy lunches. You should raise your kids eating healthy, but aside from that, you should really raise them all equally. You should not make one kid feel different than the rest because they are heavier than their siblings. It’s not some shame game. It’s your fault as their parents that your kid is fat. (I understand once kids can drive, they make a lot more of their own decisions. I also understand that some kids do actually have health problems, but you’d be amazed what a healthy diet does for health problems in children, too.)

It really disgusts me that parents think they can’t take junk food out of their house or their kids will complain about it. So what? So what if your kids complain and whine? You’re the parent! You get to set the boundaries! They won’t complain forever. Eventually, they’ll learn to eat what they have in front of them (and they may never love broccoli or carrots, but they’ll find something better than Pop-tarts and Lucky Charms). The decisions parents make with their young kids last a lifetime. Not only that, but obese children are at risk for so many diseases! Why would you knowingly subject your children to that over food? Food is meant to fuel your body. It’s supposed to be nutritious. It shouldn’t cause you harm.

Jon and I have already talked about not buying junk food when we have kids (you know, in like, 5 months). It just won’t be in our house (it’s not in our house now and never is, so why would that change?). Kids won’t crave candy as a two year old unless their parents introduce them to it. I see so many kids actin’ a fool over chocolate. It’s ridiculous. Why is a kid who can’t even speak in full sentences having a meltdown over something that they never had to have in the first place? It might be tough to stick to our guns since it’s so common and accepted to let children eat horrible food, but I’m not all about that. And you know what? We’re the parents. We get to make those decisions and our children will listen, maybe with some screaming and fighting, but they’ll listen.

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5 thoughts on “When You Have a Fat Kid…

  1. I was thinking about this the other day and just how much has changed since our childhoods because fast food and junk food is so readily available.

    When I was a kid, I ate at McDonalds and it was part of being a kid in the 1990s. We’d go on a Saturday afternoon and I’d eat a happy meal and play on the playland and probably burn off most of the calories because I was an active kid. Now, parents swing through the drive-thru every day after school and that’s what their kids eat for a “snack” and of course, no playland (I think McD’s got rid of all of them! I never see playlands anymore!).

    It’s really sad that the mom wants to put her one overweight child on a diet and single her out like that. It sounds like the whole family has some issues and could really benefit from eating better and a healthier lifestyle in general. Plus talking like that around your kid is such a shame, especially when the kid is 10 and probably bullied a lot already for being overweight.

    • I used to want McDonald’s every year for my birthday because we almost never got to have it and it was such a treat to get a happy meal! Once we got a little older, my parents would take us out to fast food more often, but it was definitely not a weekly thing! It really is just so common these days to eat fast food or take your kids out to eat (and then distract them on an iPad so you don’t have to converse with them). Times are so different, but I’m trying to cling to the old days! Jon’s more on board with how things are now but I think everybody is headed in the wrong direction! I wish it was uncommon for parents to talk to like in front of their kids, or to be irresponsible in general in front of their kids, but it’s not. You couldn’t shock me much with adults anymore, but working with kids and seeing family interactions surprises me still regularly. I saw a family the other day feeding their baby Snack Pack pudding instead of baby food and they said, “But it has no sugar in it.” Ahhh, really?! And a toddler crying about having to drink Powerade and not soda! It’s crazy…

      • A few weeks ago, Clay and I went to MB to spend the weekend with college friends who have an almost two year old. They fed him so much sugar and he had so many meltdowns! I feel like if kids ate better foods, it would prevent some of the discipline problems in schools too. They could concentrate and learn better.

  2. I see it all the time, not just with food but parents giving in to children ‘because it’s easier’. I know a couple who have their 7yr old and 5yr old sleep with them because it’s less hassle than having tantrums in the middle of the night.
    If you starve your child it is abuse surely that means feeding your child to become so unhealthy is too.
    It also doesn’t help that kids are becoming much less active.

    • Yup! Or parents just giving in to let their kids watch TV all the time because that’s what they want to to! I heard “No” ALL the time when I was little! I’m sure I threw my fair share of tantrums, but when my parents said no, it meant no. If we threw a fit, we had to go sit on our bed till it was over. I really have no idea what happened to parents these days. It’s like they just got so lazy and want technology and fast food to just be there to raise their kids to take a load off. I know two parent working households are a lot more common these days and that must have something to do it with it, but I’ll be doing my best not to let all this stuff happen around our house!

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