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DazzlingAnna

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As a mom of a 5y.o. boy and being overweight I was sure I will have to deal with comments on that mother/son relationship.
Wasn't ready that will hit me already when he was just born (!) and later at his age 1,5 to 2 years old.
Back then several people had that urgent need to tell me how beautiful this boy is (okay, that's true;)) and that certainly must come from his father side (who wasn't around that moment).
Whatever these people wanted to tell me - I just heard "fat women don't get beautiful kids" which is pretty much my interpretation.

Some month ago it started at kindergarten. Other kids starting asking me questions why I a was big and if that is because I ate to much. Just curious questions of 4 or 5 y.o. kids. No big deal. Parents of those kids usually are kind of ashamed or embarressed to find themsmselves unexpectedly in this situation.

I usally try to tell those kids that there are various reasons why some people getting bigger than others and it's ok to be different. No big deal in that age obviously.

Recently my son called me: " come here, my big fat mom" with a certain accentuation I didn't appreciate.
Well, I am big, I am fat also and I am his mom. He tried to tease me.

I think it is important to explain a child what he/she just said and it might hurt other people's feelings using certain words.

4 / 5 y.o. start mocking on other peoples appearance already - that's probably what they hear at home.
And I am a little bit afraid what will happen to him when school starts next year.

Nevertheless I will not hide from other people (How can I hide - I am big anyway)
If my son has to "suffer" due to my appearance it is my and my husbands job to make him a strong and confident person. Well let's talk about it in a few years again...

What is most difficult for me right now is dealing with people on the street calling me really inappropriate nasty insulting names.

That happens a lot - when I am on my own I found a way to deal with it - work some days better that others. Different story when he's with me. He hasn't asked anything about what happened so far. But I am pretty sure he recognized and the day he will ask is yet to come

Anyone any idea what to answer a 5 y.o. child why people insulting others just because they are bigger than average?
 

Tad

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At kindergarten age I remember being teased for being fat, and other kids being teased for having a funny sounding name, and equally silly reasons. I think it is the age where kids begin to get a better sense of what is 'normal' and what is not, and where they are experimenting with social roles, status, power, etc. As a parent I think you can gently guide your child away from that ("that isn't very nice, please try not to do/say that" and then enforce that as you would any other guidelines)

As for insults from others when out with kid, I think the important part is to not show ther insults having power. Try not to show much hurt or fear, and to mostly communicate that insulting others is an act of weakness or illness. Acknowledge what was said, if necessary, and add that it was probably said to try and make you feel sad. Why? "Because some people seem to like making others sad. No, I don't know why, but the people who do that don't seem like happy people themselves. Anyway it isn't nice to make fun of people because they are bigger or smaller or dress differently or talk differently or like different food or anything else. You and me, let's not do that, ok?"
 

DazzlingAnna

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@Tad: thanks for your reply. Appreciate it.

At kindergarten age I remember being teased for being fat, and other kids being teased for having a funny sounding name, and equally silly reasons. I think it is the age where kids begin to get a better sense of what is 'normal' and what is not, and where they are experimenting with social roles, status, power, etc. As a parent I think you can gently guide your child away from that ("that isn't very nice, please try not to do/say that" and then enforce that as you would any other guidelines)

As for insults from others when out with kid, I think the important part is to not show ther insults having power. Try not to show much hurt or fear, and to mostly communicate that insulting others is an act of weakness or illness. Acknowledge what was said, if necessary, and add that it was probably said to try and make you feel sad. Why? "Because some people seem to like making others sad. No, I don't know why, but the people who do that don't seem like happy people themselves. Anyway it isn't nice to make fun of people because they are bigger or smaller or dress differently or talk differently or like different food or anything else. You and me, let's not do that, ok?"

Not showing that insults have power is probably the most important but also sometimes the most difficult part of it.
From time to time it hits me unexpectedly.
 
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alk27alk27

Breaker of eggs.
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Next time they ask just say you got fat from eating kids who talked to much. That should shut them up.
 

alk27alk27

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Hay, whatever it takes to get them to learn to respect their betters. One day a second ice age will hit our planet and those who are too skinny to survive will not see the next summer.:p
 

DazzlingAnna

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Children of 4 or 5 years may ask their questions. that's okay. That's the way it should be.
yay, I love all these "why..."questions on literally everything.

Explaining that diversity is a good thing might help those embarressed parents to find an answer when this topic pops up at home, again.

That's what I hope, knowing the opposite..
 

happily_married

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Children of 4 or 5 years may ask their questions. that's okay. That's the way it should be.
yay, I love all these "why..."questions on literally everything.

Explaining that diversity is a good thing might help those embarressed parents to find an answer when this topic pops up at home, again.

That's what I hope, knowing the opposite..
That’s a big piece too. At younger ages they don’t have an appreciation for why this is a sensitive issue. It just...is. Kids are like that and it takes being patient and understanding; willing to take the time to teach in a matter of fact and unemotional delivery.

Of course that’s easier said than done. My little girl once called her mom fat (didn’t say it to be mean, it was just an observation) and my wife cried for hours. It’s tough.

This was years ago. My daughter is pretty astute about this now. She’s rightly defensive about her mom and I’m proud of how far she’s come.
 

DazzlingAnna

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The "serious side of life" will begin this year - my sons school will start this August. He's excited, so am I!

For me this excitement starts way earlier in few weeks - meeting teachers and other parents. I am wondering if I will be the biggest parent in this group - I guess so.

I am not afraid of being the only fat mom. I got used to it to be the biggest person in whatever group I join. Furthermore I am not afraid of inappropriate looks or comments I get from teachers or parents.

The point I am concerned about is the fact that my son in school will have to deal with insulting comments. At the moment he is happy when we have our cuddling time and he loves me being big, soft and jiggling :)
When we talk about it I try to explain that people look different than others for multiple reasons. And I think at the moment it isn't a big deal for him.
He's not pointing at other people and making fun or nasty comments on whatever difference there might be.

And honestly I am concerned that he soon will lose the positive way of seeing me as a big/fat person.

This is so selfish me, I know....
 

Tad

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Personally I think that it is such a nice age just before they start school!

To address your post: Kids will always start getting more mixed opinion of their parents as they get older. If it isn't you being fat it will be the vacations you take or the car you drive or the way you laugh or how you walk .... There will always be something. And it is part of growing up to learn to integrate opposing views in your head, so you could even argue that this sort of thing is part of growing up?

But it sounds like you have a really good foundation. You will still be his most trusted source of information for a while still, so you get to help him make sense of all of this for a while, and build on that foundation. I don't think what you have established will ever be lost, just maybe hidden a bit.

Still, get lots of snuggles while he is still young enough to appreciate them :)
 

Jaycee

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I personally grew up with two plus sized parents. Not once growing up did my sister or I get teased for a parent's weight. Kids got other things talk about other than parents weight. Our mom was pretty active with us when it came to school too, so classmates seen that she was bigger but it made no difference. I was aware she was bigger than some of the other moms but it never was made out as a bad thing that she was.

I'm also pretty confident my Dad like BBWs, he married one and always has an excited look when he makes any mention of a "Fuller figured woman," maybe fat attraction is hereditary because I certainly have preference for BHM.

Glad you daughter handles all that well at her age!

When I was that I at that age I was at the beginning of an eating disorder. That I don't think was in any way related to having a plus sized parents. My older sister her weight has fluctuated as an adult but she's always been confident and comfortable with herself at any size unlike myself. Just to note my sister's and mine personalities are complete opposite.

Now as a parent I'm worried on how to teach healthy eating,(he's 8 months still nursing and can't chew, so it's a ways away yet) without ever encouraging an food judgements or anything in that realm. And good self esteem around body image scared as sometimes I'm not the best at it myself. I would truly hate for my child (or future children) to go through an eating disorder.
 

Dr. Feelgood

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I have wondered how to teach healthy eating. Is it even possible? Children watch TV and are bombarded with ads for candy, soda, and fast food. How do you say, "we don't eat those things" when all the other children they know DO eat those things?
 

happily_married

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I have wondered how to teach healthy eating. Is it even possible? Children watch TV and are bombarded with ads for candy, soda, and fast food. How do you say, "we don't eat those things" when all the other children they know DO eat those things?
couple that with being a busy household and it really is a lot harder than it sounds!
 

DazzlingAnna

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Well, giving advices about healthy eating when rising a child feels like entering the arena of loving and caring but also fighting moms and dads. I usually avoid doing this because there are many ways and all could be right or wrong.

Anyway, for me it turned out to be a good, and sometimes pragmatic way to just offer different kind of food we already have on the table. I offered our son all we had cooked too. Sometimes he liked it too, sometimes he didn't. I made some good experiences with offering some fruit or vegetables with a meal when they are old enough to eat those. Little round ones like grapes, blueberries or olives. At his age of two I had a big fan of olives at the table ;) . I also still offer some fresh vegetables like sweet peppers, cucumber, carrots or little tomatoes , or even cooked ones like carrots, broccoli or green peas with every meal. These are colorful, have a nice taste, are healthy and that just became a constant component for his lunch.

For me it is most important that he needs to try everything that is new on the table.

Ok, no rule without exception - some things I don't like he won't be able to taste at home because i won't cook them for a meal (Brussels sprouts 🤢).
And concerning the sweets, candies and sodas what @Rojodi said. It helps if there are only a few at home. We don't exaggerate eating them but they are not forbidden.

And most important: children copy the eating behaviour of people around them. If they see others eating something with joy - they want it too. At least my son is like that. Mostly.
 

Corey

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@Jaycee, I have an almost 8 year old girl, almost 4 year old boy and a 22 month old girl. Me and my husband have erased the stigma of a fatter body being a shameful thing and we do not connect food to being the reason someone has a fatter body in the first place. The last thing we want is for them to question their bodies each time they eat something, but I make sure that they only have access to things I’m okay with them putting into their body.

We give them primarily organic food, but if we ever had to go without it due to money or some type of food shortage, we’d be okay with regular. Snacks are usually something like a yogurt (no extra sugar added, or less than 6g sugar), granola bar, gold fish, wheat thins, chex mix, etc. Since I never want to withhold food from them if they are truly hungry, I have a rule in my house and it has worked for us pretty well. If they are still hungry after their morning or afternoon snack, or if they get hungry throughout the day at any point, then they can have as much fruit and raw veggies as they want until they are full. They know fruit and veggies are available all day long without question. I pre-cut veggies (bell peppers, baby carrots, cucumbers) and fruit (watermelon, melons, grapes, oranges, apples) and keep them stored at the bottom of the fridge for them to have access to at all times. My daughter typically doesn’t want more snack, but my son ALWAYS does, and he’s happy to eat the fruit or veggies provided. For meals, I cook 2 homemade meals that will last us the entire week, that way all I need to do is cook the sides each night, typically something such as couscous, quinoa, baked veggies. Fruit is served with every meal as well. On Fridays, we have fast food. Every day after lunch and dinner, my oldest two get 2 Hershey’s kisses for dessert, even if they don’t eat all of their food. Weekends are special and they get ice cream. We only give them water to drink and we don’t have juice in the house. We do allow the no sugar flavored water packets if they ask.

I never talk bad about my body or make comments about things being forbidden because of it being unhealthy. If they ask for something that I don’t approve of, I’ll tell them “not today” and then search for a healthier alternative to make. But I don’t tell them that I disapprove of the food they asked for, because I don’t want them to associate negativity with eating. I teach them that certain foods give fuel to the body while others have the opposite effect, but I also teach them that everything can become unhealthy if eaten too much, including fruit.

So, we still give them “junk” but they don’t know they're getting healthier alternatives to junk. For example, my kids love muffins. I buy the Kodiak cake and muffins mix and add a few more chocolate chips at the top to make them yummier. Kodiak also has a waffle mix and pancake mix. Our pantry is stocked with their stuff. Everything is loaded with protein and tastes really good. When we’re with family and friends, we let the kids have what they want and without restriction.

Even though my husband eats like shit, he’s really good about keeping their nutrition in check. He does eat terribly in front of them at times, and when they ask why they can’t eat pop tarts after dinner 🙄 (after glaring at my husband) I say that when they are adults then they can eat pop tarts after dinner too, but in my house, they’ll eat what they’re given. Everything is in moderation, and we certainly don’t forbid food, we just give them healthier alternatives or special days to eat the junk, such as Fridays.

@Dr. Feelgood, to answer your question- I just tell my kids that each household is different. Each parent does things differently, and there’s nothing wrong with the way others choose to do things. I don’t make a stink about anything. If they see a fast food commercial on TV and mention that something looks good, I’ll say, “That does look good.” If they ask if they can have it, I’ll say, “Sure, on Friday.” or I’ll just make a healthier alternative the following week. I think the key is not withholding the kids from junk food, and instead, giving them healthier alternatives and allowing the true junk in moderation.

When it comes to body size, or bodies in general, we don’t talk about the differences. We explain that everyone is just as important and is to be treated as such. No one is “this” because of “that”...at least that’s our approach right now, because explaining hormones, eating disorders, metabolism, mental health, etc wouldn't register with them at their age. My daughter has the curvy barbies as well as the normal sized barbies, and we don’t allow her to watch anything on TV that has bullying of any type or makes mention of a person’s size. My daughter is a tiny thing height and weight wise, but one of her friends in cheer camp called her chubby (which I made a phone call to the mom about). We had to assure my daughter that she wasn’t, but even if she was, we’d love her just the same without any question. Even though we don’t talk about weight, she still took being called chubby as a negative thing. I had a heart to heart with her and preached that we are not defined by our bodies, and if anyone ever commented on her body again that she is to look at them firmly and say, “My body is my own and it is not yours to be concerned about. Move along.”

It’s hard and quite terrifying for me still, even with success to everything I mentioned above, because I can only do my part before the ugliness of the world seeps into their minds. I know that you living through an eating disorder makes it even more terrifying to think about, since you’ve been there. I think as parents, we’ll never stop worrying about our kids. But also, it’s obvious that you’re a good mom by the worries that you have and by the way you think ahead. ❤
 

Corey

Corey
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Sep 1, 2019
Messages
443
Location
America
Well, giving advices about healthy eating when rising a child feels like entering the arena of loving and caring but also fighting moms and dads. I usually avoid doing this because there are many ways and all could be right or wrong.

Anyway, for me it turned out to be a good, and sometimes pragmatic way to just offer different kind of food we already have on the table. I offered our son all we had cooked too. Sometimes he liked it too, sometimes he didn't. I made some good experiences with offering some fruit or vegetables with a meal when they are old enough to eat those. Little round ones like grapes, blueberries or olives. At his age of two I had a big fan of olives at the table ;) . I also still offer some fresh vegetables like sweet peppers, cucumber, carrots or little tomatoes , or even cooked ones like carrots, broccoli or green peas with every meal. These are colorful, have a nice taste, are healthy and that just became a constant component for his lunch.

For me it is most important that he needs to try everything that is new on the table.

Ok, no rule without exception - some things I don't like he won't be able to taste at home because i won't cook them for a meal (Brussels sprouts 🤢).
And concerning the sweets, candies and sodas what @Rojodi said. It helps if there are only a few at home. We don't exaggerate eating them but they are not forbidden.

And most important: children copy the eating behaviour of people around them. If they see others eating something with joy - they want it too. At least my son is like that. Mostly.
But have you ever had Brussels sprouts wrapped in applewood bacon?!?! 👅👅👅
 

Corey

Corey
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Messages
443
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America
@Jaycee, I also meant to say that if you feel comfortable doing so, you can incorporate foods such as soft, steamed veggies. It isn’t really for the nutrition as much as it is for helping the baby with texture and swallowing, even if they don’t have teeth. Their gums will break it down enough to swallow. Enjoy your little babe, they grow so fast. I’m still nursing my youngest before her sleep times and I get so sad when I think about her growing up. I still think of her as a little baby. 😭 The 8 month mark is such a precious time to soak up the cuteness.
 
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