Kids can be so cruel. Advice needed.

  1. My daughter Rachel is 10. She is plumping up right now, but I have seen her do this before. First of all, her body is changing. I think she is getting ready for puberty because she is starting to develop breasts already. She goes through periods where she plumps up and then grows and loses it. Wellll.... she was just told yesterday by two of her "friends" that she is fat! It totally broke her heart and of course mine too! I don't want my daughter so focused on her weight right now. She eats plenty of healthy foods and she is very active. She could eat more veggies, but other than that, I am not sure that I would adjust much about her diet. Between school, rollerblading in the barn, running and sports activities with her friends, and her drama class (they have choreographed dance) she gets plenty of exercise. She wants to lose weight, though, because she thinks she has to to be valued by her so called friends. . I remember being called fat as a child and it was awful. I don't want her to feel this pain, but I hesitate to put her on a diet.

    I hate it that she thinks that she is not good enough. Here's my dilemma with her. If I say, sure honey I'll help you lose the weight, then am I reinforcing this idea that she is fat and should lose weight to gain acceptance? Or should I try and explain to her that she will thin out with growth? What if that isn't good enough in her eyes? What if she doesn't thin out and then is even more hurt? I don't want my daughter to develop eating problems. I do want her to be healthy and to feel confident about her body, though. Any advice?
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  2. 18 Comments

  3. by   Aneroo
    What a difficult situation. I was fat growing up (heck, still am), and remember vividly being made fun of. I even had my 6th grade math teacher call me a whale in front of the class.
    I think I would try and focus on explaining that she needs to be healthy, not skinny. It sounds so easy to do, but I am sure it is extremely hard. I wish I knew what to tell you.
    (((hugs for you and daughter)))
    -Andrea
  4. by   Spidey's mom
    There really is a time when puberty starts to raise it's ugly head that we get a little more padding . . . it is a normal occurance. Try to tell her it is normal.

    Of course trying to explain that to a 10 year old who has friends who call her fat is hard.

    I would focus on health .. .I talk about making your heart strong and your lungs healthy and building strong bones. And start doing more physical things with her. Riding bikes, taking hikes, etc.

    Maybe the whole family could just adopt a "healthy eating" program so the focus isn't on her.

    Kids are mean - this isn't related to being overweight but in elementary school there was a girl with very hairy legs and we (yes me too) all called her "hamburger hairylegs" . ... I don't know where the hamburger comes in but I do remember her face.

    Good luck - my daughter was a small and skinny child until puberty and then got a little plump. She is very involved in sports and during the season of whatever sport she is in she loses weight.

    steph
  5. by   leslie :-D
    i agree w/steph about the whole family starting a healthy-eating, active life-style regimen.
    shoot, kids CAN be so incredibly cruel.
    you can also reinforce the positive aspects of your dtr., i.e., i am so proud of you being the gentle, sensitive, kind young lady you are and are not being mean to other people.

    i swear, if i ever found any of my kids being cruel to someone else, i'd make them each eat a package of lima beans or anything else green. i can promise you, they'd never be cruel again.

    sorry, got side-tracked.
    so yes lisa, i like steph's idea with the whole family involved and if able, try to have your dtr ignore it, once you have reinforced all the beautiful things about her.

    keep us updated.

    leslie
  6. by   Spidey's mom
    Leslie - you've got to think of another way to torture kids . . I LOVE lima beans. :hatparty:

    steph
  7. by   leslie :-D
    Quote from stevielynn
    Leslie - you've got to think of another way to torture kids . . I LOVE lima beans. :hatparty:

    steph
    well then steph, i cordially invite you to my house in boston: you and the kids can eat lima beans together, but may i suggest you wear something to protect your clothing from projectile vomiting x3.
  8. by   Spidey's mom
    Quote from earle58
    well then steph, i cordially invite you to my house in boston: you and the kids can eat lima beans together, but may i suggest you wear something to protect your clothing from projectile vomiting x3.
    Think I'll pass . . . .

    My family loves beans of all sorts ... we are all Okies and Arkies from waaaay back. I cook a three bean casserole with pintos, kidney and lima beans . . .also has hamburger, celery, onions, and a sauce made with ketchup, dijon mustard and then american cheese on top to melt.

    Guess I'll have to stop making that - not exactly healthy food.

    Lisa - I actually might think about saying something to your daughter's friends if they are kids she hangs around with often or if they come to your home. But then I've stopped teenagers from cussing around my kids when I'm in public.

    steph
  9. by   lisamc1RN
    Thank you so much everyone. I have started reading up on body image for girls and I am also working on a way to make this a family thing and not just about Rachel. I decided that there is nothing wrong with all of us eating right and being healthy! So, Rachel and I are going to have a talk, and yes, the girls who said this are at our home, the church and everywhere with us, so I will have a talk with them, too. I think I'll ask Rachel if she wants to get the bikes out and start riding together on our country road. Or if there's some other activity she'd like to do together, we can consider that! This is such a rough age to be. I just want to be the best mom I can to her and help it to be a pleasant time and not so difficult.


    Oh, and I forgot to add... I'm coming to your house for lima beans, Steph! :lol I love them! *drool*
  10. by   Spidey's mom
    Quote from lisamc1
    Thank you so much everyone. I have started reading up on body image for girls and I am also working on a way to make this a family thing and not just about Rachel. I decided that there is nothing wrong with all of us eating right and being healthy! So, Rachel and I are going to have a talk, and yes, the girls who said this are at our home, the church and everywhere with us, so I will have a talk with them, too. I think I'll ask Rachel if she wants to get the bikes out and start riding together on our country road. Or if there's some other activity she'd like to do together, we can consider that! This is such a rough age to be. I just want to be the best mom I can to her and help it to be a pleasant time and not so difficult.


    Oh, and I forgot to add... I'm coming to your house for lima beans, Steph! :lol I love them! *drool*
    You are a good mom Lisa . . .

    Oh and I've got some hamburger in the fridge . . . . .and beans in the cupboard . . . guess what we are having for dinner?

    Fresh lima beans covered in butter are pretty good too.

    Speaking of exercise - I have got to get up and outside. The sun is shining for awhile.

    steph
  11. by   CHATSDALE
    lisa, telll your dtr that she will move upward and that she will grow into a beautful healthy teen...good eating habits and exercise is something she will carry with her all her life
    AND the best lesson that she could learn is not to pass this on.
    never ever put someone down or make fun of them for the big nose, the different accent, crossed eyes, their weight whether too skinny or too much...there is nothing that is acceptable in making someone else feel bad about themselves
    and there is a special place in hell for those who say 'i am only doing this for your own good' or 'gee it was only a joke, don't you have a sense of humor'
  12. by   UM Review RN
    This really sucks, that anyone could make a 10-year-old feel so lousy about herself. What's this country coming to, robbing children of their childhood?

    Ticks me off, I tell ya. :angryfire

    Give her a big hug from me, ok? :icon_hug: I know you've already taught her that there is a lot more to living a great life than how you look or what you wear, or what the others think of you.
  13. by   prmenrs
    I think it might be a good time to talk about problems w/anorexia, but get some guidance first. You and other family members can reinforce that she is a good person, that kids in that age group often try to make each other feel bad about themselves, but that she doesn't have to because you can see the bigger picture than they can.

    Also, do the numbers with her: how many calories she's taking in, how many she's expending. You could go together to a dietician. Ask the pediatrician for advice on dealing w/this issue.

    I'm just seeing the potential for eating disorders in this kind of harrassment. That is what would worry me.
  14. by   z's playa
    I'm offering the other side of the coin here. As I grew up I was constantly called skinny all my life. Still do get called that. It hurts just as bad! Kids are cruel. Fat or skinny won't change that. Tell her that.

    Z

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