Monday, May 13, 2013

Wait, Let's Talk About Your Child's Weight

Monica: "The camera adds ten pounds!"
Chandler: "So exactly how many cameras are on you?"
   Remember when it was a sign of wealth and success to put on a little weight?  Oh, to be in that day and age. I'd be looked upon as the social elite! Really though, I wish it wasn't an issue for our times. I watched my mother battle weight issues as it fluctuated with my father's less than perfect performance as a father and husband. It hurt to see her have issue with her looks due to weight. It crept into my own marriage as The Wife battled issues with her weight during pregnancy, when all the tabloid magazines showed how fit celebrity moms were with their nannies, personal chefs, personal trainers, and so on. I had a brief issue with weight around the birth of our first child, eating whatever I wanted to show support to my sweet wife. We're adults though. I never thought about when I'd have to face it as a father of a girl.

   It started last year when my 'Lil Miss was in kindergarten. The friend she hung out with the most at school and a bit at home for play dates was a fairly skinny girl. She was abnormally petite for her age, which posed a perspective problem when she referred to her fingers as fat. My daughter came home that day and began complaining about how fat her fingers were, especially compared to her stick thin friend. While my 'Lil Miss is average height (maybe a bit taller than the other girls as of this post), she is by NO means anything but trim and fit. So you can imagine how my heart sank when I heard my 6YO complaining about being fat. We did our best to reassure her that she was quite fit, as she was in gymnastics and playing out on bike or scooter for hours each day. Still, it took more than one discussion to convince her of that.

   Enter the latest in good body image building.I was spurred to thought and action after reading. See the Yahoo article about the Abercrombie & Fitch fiasco. I know it's not the responsibility of corporations and media to help build my daughter's self esteem and sense of body image, but it is their job to make her feel like crap about it as the alternative? I wandered past one of their stores recently and just glared, at no one, in an attempt to use the force to crush the entrance to the den of bad feels. I just simply can't stand what is allowed to take place out in this world. We seem so advanced, yet are nowhere near it sometimes.

   There's much work to be done by us parents to make sure that our children are not overly influenced by the "machine". I'll be damned if I don't at least go down fighting for my daughter's best interests. Shame on those who would make my child feel less about themselves. Shame on me if I don't teach her not to listen.


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