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Give support, don't ridicule

Keying on child's weight can damage self-esteem, reader says. Ann Landers agrees.

Ann Landers - Creators Syndicate

Dear Ann Landers: This is in response to ``No Name Out East,'' who was concerned about her overweight granddaughter. The child's mother fed her nutritious food and healthy snacks, but Grandma thought the mother should emphasize the connection between the girl's eating and her weight. I wonder how much of Grandma's ``concern'' is about the child's health and how much is about the way the child looks.

When my son was younger, he was a pudgy little guy. His father and grandmother pointed out that ``overeating leads to overweight and possible ridicule.'' They constantly reminded him that he was too fat and made fun of him when he wore swimming trunks. They damaged his self-esteem, and it broke my heart.

My son is now a tall, handsome teenager, well-proportioned and no longer overweight. He is kind and compassionate, especially to overweight people because he has been down that road and knows how rough it can be. When his grandmother died, he felt nothing but relief that she was no longer around to torment him. I'm sure he will feel the same about his father.

You were right to suggest an exercise program and a visit to the pediatrician to rule out underlying medical conditions. If that grandmother isn't careful, all her granddaughter will remember of her is how cruel she was. -- A Seattle Mom

Dear Seattle Mom: I agree wholeheartedly with your assessment. I hope every parent of an overweight child will take a page out of your book. These children need guidance and emotional support, not ridicule.