So we never tackled one of the big parenting maelstroms of late: that woman who put her daughter on a strict diet to lose some number of pounds, wrote about the incessant brow-beating and tears and agony for Vogue and then scored a major book deal to write even more about the brow-beating and tears and agony.
Boy, I can’t wait for that one ….
A recent article about the article/book wonders where there should even be one, a book that is.
Should we, as a society, really start reading up on how to put our daughters on diets?
Well … kind of.
Let me explain: We already do put kids — boys and girls — on diets. I’m not talking the crazy socialite lady kind, the kind that makes your kid cry and feel like the only important thing about her is the way she looks. I’m talking about the every day kind: “No, you may not have another ice cream cone, WTF?” “No, we will not have pancakes for breakfast, lunch and dinner.” “Yes, you have to eat all your greens.”
As a parent, I have a great responsibility to make sure my daughter’s diet — the food she eats kind, not the pop culture torture kind — gives her the energy she needs to do her major job: play.
So yes, as a society, we need to talk about the kinds of foods our kids eat. That’s healthy. That’s fine. But we also need to talk about their exercise, their sleep, their play and chill-out times. It’s absolutely flippin’ fantastic that parents want to talk to their kids about good diets — eating the foods that give us the energy to be awesome — and bad diets — how we might want to avoid eating an entire jar of jelly beans every day because that will make you feel like a brainless, sleepy slug.
What’s absolutely not OK — and why I think books like this and the people behind them should be lined up and brow-beaten and made to babysit 37 3-year-olds for hours on end each day in a small room with no toys — is this glorification of self-torture for the sake of appearance.
Now, I feel for the parents who have kids who are overweight. That’s a real problem and it needs to be dealt with — but dealt with for the sake of making these little booger chewers as healthy and happy as they can be, not for the sake of only making sure they look good.
Honestly, who on earth would do this: “Hmm, I think my kid is a little overweight. Should I maybe read some articles from nutrition experts? Oh, hey look, a diet book from a crazy New York society lady! That one!”
The original Vogue article that started all this mess never once — at least that I remember — talked about play and exercise and raising happy kids. Didn’t the kid cry in the end? It was all about parent-led torture to shed pounds. I really hope that doesn’t become the next parenting trend when this book hits the best seller lists, because kids already get hit by all media with this ridiculous notion that looks are the most important thing and that they should torture themselves to be pretty. They don’t need it from dads and moms, too.
Can we let kids be kids for just a few more years, before we immerse them in the grown-up, misguided diet worlds they will have to battle with for the rest of their lives? Eat good food, exercise and play. Let’s please focus on that.
What do you think? Would you buy this diet book?
Mike Adamick writes at Cry It Out!