An open letter to the parents and relatives of obese kids
Dear Concerned Adults,
If your child is a combination of introvert/shy/sensitive and overweight/obese, you probably need to gear up your parenting skills. I say this, because your child may be able to lose weight eventually, but would always remain a self conscious person, whose confidence could be shaken by even a little gain in weight.
This piece of writing is not only based on personal experience, but is an observation of my fellow classmates when I was younger, and later, when I starting teaching little children, who were mostly in their adolescence. You should know that “a FAT kid will always remain a FAT kid in his head, no matter what age.” So stop making them feel like that.
I remember being so desperate to have an acceptable weight at the age of ten, that I started eating just bread and jam for all meals. Obviously I thought that it is diet food and had no sense of what I was doing. I stopped going to my maternal grandma’s place because I knew they would see me after months and mock me. No offence, they were just joking, but I was too sensitive and low on confidence to understand that.
Kids bullied for their weight are also likely to find friends with similar self respect issues, since they would be more comforting and more prone to self pity. Little would you know that this would end up making their case even more concerning, since they will get relaxed in their present unhealthy self, and instead of becoming fighters, would become escapists.
Straying away from the vast psychological influences of people on overweight kids, I would tell you that there are endless ways how parents make their children fat, without even knowing about it.
Parents can be unfair:
- You feed your child and family with ghee filled paranthas every morning, never introduce him to an exercise regimen, and expect him to look like a rock star later.
- You cannot expect your child to have a healthy relationship with food, when you don’t. Your children will have the same food as you do! Basic logic.
- You can’t expect your kid to be a fitness enthusiast, when he/she has grown up looking at lazy bums around.
- You say things like “ Tumhari umar mei mai kitna smart tha/thi” while having a big paunch yourself. The children know you contradict your statements and don’t really respect your opinion about fitness. Fitness is for all ages.
- You watch ten shows a day on television and expect him/her to not sit with you.
- You speak about the child’s weight in public, and expect them to act upon it.
How not to be unfair :
- Be strict about people around not commenting on your child’s weight. Dispensing of free advice should not be discouraged. Your child is fat, not sick.
- Be an example of fitness yourself. Make healthy choices in food and make your child aware of the wrong intake and the right intake, so he/she makes better choices while eating.
- The best way to encourage your child to exercise is, exercise with them! Play a sport, walk together (sans an icecream in hand!)
- Make tasty and low calorie foods at home. It’s too unfair on a child to have bland food since their taste buds are so young and crave for tasty food. So, from a low fat pizza, to healthy sandwiches for tiffin, make them eat sensibly, and make sure that you tell them about it.
I hope you understood a wee bit about your overweight child’s psyche, and what could or can be done better. Kindly comment and let me know if you would like me to share a few more experiences of me and my friends.
For more information about childhood obesity, read here.
Did you decide to circulate this open letter to the parents and relatives of obese kids?
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