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The things we tell our children

July 29, 2013

I wish I had a dollar for every time I said something utterly ridiculous to my children.

“Do not hit your brother with Captain America!”

“How did you manage to get the toothpaste on the ceiling and under the toilet?”

“Put. Your. Penis. Away.”

Children have an uncanny knack for making us crazy, but they are listening. I promise that they are indeed absorbing all the high-quality parenting we dish out to them. (This is proven by the fact that these heathens we all know and love can act like angels in someone else’s care.)

Please keep in mind, then, that they are also listening when you say out loud that you are fat. That you need to lose weight, that you look terrible, that you have let yourself go.

“Ugh, I cannot believe I ate that cake/cookie/entire breakfast casserole. I gotta start working out, this is just disgusting.”

Weight is rarely talked about in a positive connotation, and the message our children hear is that being fat is bad. As in “Fat People are Bad.” Ugly, lazy, mean, stupid; whether we are talking about ourselves or others.

“Have you seen Jane lately? Wow. she looks awful, I can’t believe she put on all that weight!”

There are a no less than 762 memes and Facebook quotes on how we should not judge others by how they look, and yet we do this every single day, in our homes and around our kids.

The most ironic thing is, of course, that our kids think we are the most beautiful things in the world. And hearing moms (and dads) lament on how awful they look does not make sense to them. They then hear those things reiterated at a family party or play date at someone’s house, and what once did not make sense because accepted as fact.

Does that mean we do not need to talk about health and wellness, and eating healthy and exercise?

Of course not! Our kids need to know that what they eat and the activity they do affects their health, and they need to treat their bodies with love and kindness. Talk to your kids about exercise to make their bones and muscles strong, and eating healthy foods to fuel their bodies and give them energy.

And if they ask you, “Mommy, are you fat?” you don’t have to lie. If you have weight to lose, you can admit that, but still tell them with love.

“Well, I do need to help my body be healthier. We should probably work on eating healthier foods and moving our bodies more. That would be fun to do together, what do you think?”

By telling your children these things with honesty and love, you are also telling yourself with honesty and love. Body Fat Composition does not make a person good or bad. You do not need to hear those things any more than your children do. What you say in your head and out loud is your reality, so make it a good one!

Now we can go back to telling our children the things that really matter.

“Do not ride the dog like a horse!”

“Did I say it was OK to paint your sister?”

“How did you get that….there?”

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