When you are the parent of an overweight child, you never know what to say or not to say, for fear of stigmatizing him… How can do we alert a child we see getting fat? Can a child understand prevention discourse? How to act on his eating behaviors?
Before alerting the child, we must let him express himself. Is this child unhappy in his body? Does he refuse to go to sport, to the swimming pool? Does he see the summer coming in panicking at the idea of putting on a jersey? You should not create a problem when the child does not have one because whatever the parents’ good intentions, you cannot help him against his will.
The child, actor of his eating behavior?
But a child under the age of 12 does not really have freedom. It is the parent who does the shopping, who encourages him to eat more or less, to finish his plate at all costs because he should not spoil, while telling him that he eats too much. In this case, if a parent is worried about the weight of his child, he must look at himself first.
So that, is the child the only actor of his eating behavior? Not at all. It is necessary to ask the parent to know how he see the problem, the parent must “purge”, far from the child’s ears, his disapproval or his disappointment with what becomes of his child. Parents sometimes use very harsh, very crude words and do not realize how it can impact their child.
a few years later, when the child become an adult, remembers at the word of this father who said to him, when he got off the train after a trip to England: “you became a real whale” or after a quarter spent in the United States United: “we’re going to put you on a diet” … Often, the adult has not completely solved his problems with his own body, and would at all costs avoid the child to be like him or like a grandfather , an obese grandmother. To avoid the risk, he wants to anticipate, to do prevention.
How to help an overweight child?
From 8-9 years old, children set up compensation mechanisms with food, and especially at meals where the parents are not present, such as afternoon tea. They are bored, they are stressed by school, by their grades, they have problems with friends and growing up, they find it difficult to find their place, they lack self-confidence … Suddenly, and they eat. In this case, it is necessary to speak with them, or to bring them to see someone so that they can understand why they are eating in secret and so that they can assess what the food brings them.
There is also the problem of siblings: a fat child, another of normal body. How to restrict one without depriving the other? Or how to please one without trying the other? The initial question is whether to put a child on a diet, whether to prevent him from eating certain foods. Should we consider that giving an apple and a yogurt to a child to taste it is a good taste? Why do we accuse diets of not working permanently in more than 95% of people who make them and how can we hope that children or teenagers will find more resources than adults to deprive themselves and get frustrated?
The child believes that in order to lose weight, you have to deprive yourself but he is torn by his desire to do like the others, to eat everything he wants. So let’s start by showing her that all foods are good. That we will have to find a place for those who are the richest, the fattest. We will also teach him to know himself, to differentiate hunger from the desire to eat. You have to show him that he is neither his brother nor his sister and that they therefore do not have the same needs. Or because nature built them differently, or because the needs are a little different every day.
You should also tell them to be wary of preconceived ideas, often peddled by friends, or even parents. It is also necessary to evangelize, because the parents are always very happy to rely on a third person, it is often better. But they can be surprised when they are told that nothing should be prohibited, otherwise their child will eat in secret and in huge quantities, to which he is no longer entitled.
It is therefore a question of allowing the child to find his way. The child will have the body for which it is intended, and it is also part of the way, to accept to be what we are. This is probably the best way to be (all) serene.