I credit my lack of body issues to my mom’s good parenting. She never put me on a diet, was weird about food, or commented negatively on my appearance except to tell me that when I slicked my bangs back I looked like a peeled onion. Of course, that scarred me for life–so it’s good that she never took me off cheese. I have a friend whose mom took him off cheese. SPOILER: It didn’t make him skinnier.
You might think I should have body issues because I’m not thin. I certainly strive for health and fitness but I’ve got to tell you–I don’t obsess over it and I’m grateful for that. I try to take the same approach with my daughters (and sons–except NO CHEESE FOR THEM.) So I’m a little dismayed at the trouble “skinny” jeans are causing for 5-year-old Ellen.
In my day we called them “pegged.” Ellen doesn’t like to wear non-skinny jeans because she thinks if they are non-skinny they are “fat.” And that’s what she says. “I don’t like these because they are fat.” I’ve tried to explain that they aren’t “skinny,” it’s just a more narrow cut and so on but you can see her line of reasoning. But she doesn’t really wear any of her “skinny” jeans either because she doesn’t like things that are tight at all. Skinny but not tight? Loose but not fat? We’ve found some great middle ground in sheer tights worn as pants. Well, she thinks it’s great middle ground.
How do I work with this? I’ve got 2 boys and 2 girls. I care that they are healthy but I don’t want them to obsess over their appearance or size. At the same time, my husband recently lost 40 lbs which we are proud of and want to celebrate. It’s a tough line to walk. At this point I’m much more worried about anorexia and body image concerns with my kids than I am worried about obesity.
What do you think? How do you talk to your kids about these issues? I want weight to be a non-issue for my kids, but with school lunch becoming “healthier” and fitness goals being incorporated into parent-teacher conferences, it comes up all the time. If I blow it off to de-emphasize it, I seem like a slob who doesn’t care. But if I talk about it all the time and count calories I worry that my girls, especially, will become fixated on it.
Hey, you know what? Parenting is kind of hard.
Photo Credit: iStock
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