Today, sitting under my favorite tree chatting to some of my colleagues, I realized how easy it is for us as parents to completely and totally destroy your kids – all in the name of doing the right thing.
One of my colleagues started talking about her child that is a bit over weight and how she is trying to stop her from eating too much or eating the wrong things. She continued to say that she does not want to have a fat child because life will be so difficult for her. Which is true, but just the fact that she used the word ‘fat’ already rang some bells for me. She jokingly told us how her daughter told her yesterday – “Mom, we will start our diet again on Monday okay. I just want to please have a Tinki like my brother.” So going on a diet is like second nature for her, but she is just not losing any weight.
Okay, up to this point you must think – “Why does she have a problem with that. The mother just want what is best for her child. Maybe she should not stick her nose into other people business…..” But here is the thing, her daughter is 7 years old………….
I get that we should teach our children healthy ways of living, but focusing so much on food and body image is ridiculous. I know from experience that it does exactly the opposite to the child. My own mother was very over weight and she decided that she will do anything in her power to ensure that I would not be the same as her. From a very young age she withheld all sugars and carbs from me. For lunch I never had the same food as the other kids. I could not have hot-dogs and did not know what peanut-butter and jelly sandwiches tasted like.
I hated her for always making me feel that I was not good enough the way I was. I felt like a freak and even with all the measures she put in place, I was still larger than the other kids in school. I continuously felt like I am doing something wrong and that I was not good enough.
Needless to say, I struggle with my weight even today and the ripe age of 43.
When my daughter was born, I decided that she will not know the meaning of the word diet. As a matter of fact the word was labelled as a bad word that was not allowed in my house. I decided that she could eat anything she wants because I will love her no matter what she looks like. Of course I would never allow her to get unhealthy and I always made sure that there was more than enough fruit and yogurt and other healthier options available, but I never kept anything from her in the fear that she would gain weight.
The funny part is that my daughter turned out completely weird. She preferred spinach to jelly beans and walked around with a cucumber like other kids would walk around with lollipops……. WHAT??????? Yeah right! Completely weird!!!! Do you want to guess who ended up eating all the sweets and treats that I bought for her…..? Hence the battle with my weight.
Today she is a beautiful seventeen year old. She has a body to die for and she can literally eat anything under the sun with zero feelings of guilt or worries that tomorrow, that piece of cake, is going to find a place right on her hip.
Maybe we as parents should stop worrying so much that our kids will turn into us, or that we will ruin their lives. We should start learning to enjoy our kids a bit more. We are so afraid that we do something wrong, or that we allow things that can ruin their lives, that we forget to enjoy every single minute we have with them.