Diets are dangerous to our health. They don’t work. They lead to eating disorders. There is no reason for a fourth grader to be restricting his or her diet with the purpose of losing weight. Let’s talk to our kids about this dangerous behavior. Don’t diet in front of them. Don’t talk about diets. Don’t let them diet.
Let’s reassure them that they are lovable and loved exactly as they are
Our children are precious beings. They are lovable for who they are inside, regardless of what they do or how they look. The only thing focusing on a child’s weight results in is feelings of shame and worthlessness. Shame and worthlessness are unhealthy for mental health. Tell and show children that they are worthy for who they are.
Let’s show them what it’s like to love ourselves as we are
Our kids are watching us. They hear us when we criticize other people’s bodies. They hear us when we criticize our own bodies. They hear us when we talk about restricting, dieting, working out to expend calories, and how much we hate our love handles. Stop it. The best way to raise a human who loves him or herself is to love yourself as a parent. Love every part of yourself. If you can’t get to the point of truly loving your body, fake it for your kids’ sake.
Ginny Jones is the editor of More-Love.org. She writes about parenting, body image, disordered eating, and eating disorders. Ginny is also a Parent Coach who helps parents navigate difficult parenting situations.