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Commenting On Your Child’s Weight Can Bring Terrible Results, Study Finds

Commenting On Your Child’s Weight Can Bring Terrible Results, Study Finds

Childhood obesity is a major problem currently facing our nation today. The statistics are staggering. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), in the past 30 years the obesity rate in children has doubled, and quadrupled in teens. The health risk associated with children who develop issues with their weight early are astronomical.

Most parents may not fully understand all of the health issues stemming from childhood obesity. But most are concerned with the overall well-being of their children and are aware that being overweight is unhealthy and carries consequences.

How a parent approaches this issue is of the utmost importance. So before telling your child that they are looking a little “thick” or “chunky,” here are a few things you may want to consider.

Dealing with a child’s weight can be a touchy subject

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    Should parents talk to an overweight or obese child about their weight? Or do they say nothing? Parents in this situation can really be torn. On one hand, if they do say something they run the risk of shaming a child, damaging their child’s self esteem and distorting his or her body image. This can lead to eating disorders, binge eating, depression and other psychologically damaging issues. On the other hand, if they choose to say nothing, they are missing an opportunity to help prevent their child from having potentially serious and long-term health problems.

    A new study offers this guidance: Don’t make comments about a child’s weight.

    Researchers did not distinguish between positive or negative comments in the study published in the journal Eating & Weight Disorders, because they found that any comment a child (especially girls) remembered hearing about their weight predicted a heavier body mass index and more overall dissatisfaction with their body type–even if weight was not an issue.

    Other studies have been able to link the critical comments of parents to an increased risk of obesity. One large government-funded study that followed thousands of 10-year-old girls found that, at the start of the study, nearly 60 percent of the girls said an adult close to them had told them they were “too fat.” By age 19, those who had been saddled with that label were more likely to be obese, regardless to whether or not they were actually overweight when they were 10.

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    In an interview with The Guardian, Dr. Rachel Rodgers, associate professor at the department of applied psychology at Northeastern University in Boston, put it this way:

    “Parents should avoid commenting on their children’s weight or appearance: that includes criticism, teasing, or even ‘positive’ statements. They should avoid encouraging their children to diet, or suggesting they need to lose weight. They should avoid ‘not allowing’ certain foods, telling their children that certain foods are ‘bad’ or trying to restrict their children’s diets.”

    Dr. Rodgers went on to convey the idea that in the minds of children weight and their physical appearance becomes associated with their self-worth and how they value themselves as a person.

    How to approach the issue of children, weight and your concerns

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    The U.S. Food and Drug Administration

      Experts suggest a more delicate and indirect approach when dealing with issues of children weight concerns and getting them to eat healthier.

      1. Model healthy eating

      Sit down and eat meals with your child whenever possible. When you are watching TV with them, prepare yourself (and them) a healthy snack. Model good portion control and how to stop eating once you’ve had enough

      2. Avoid rewarding and punishing with food

      Try to avoid labeling foods as good or bad. Find new ways to reward your children for good grades or other major accomplishments. Instead of going for ice cream, let them pick a fun activity to do. And in lieu of letting them pick the restaurant to celebrate, allow them to select the movie for movie night.

      3. Allow them to help you prepare meals

      Preparing healthy meals with your children is a great way to bond and model healthy alternatives. It is also a great way to discuss how to make healthy food choices.

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      4. Avoid dieting in front of them and refrain from suggesting that they go on a diet

      If you decide to go on a diet, you may not want to share the details with your children. Also, be careful how you frame your responses. Instead of saying you are dieting to fit into a dress or look better, you may want to tell them you are trying to adopt a healthier lifestyle.

      Featured photo credit: Jeri Johnson via stocksnap.io

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      Denise Hill

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      Published on April 9, 2021

      50 Single Mom Quotes On Staying Strong And Loving

      50 Single Mom Quotes On Staying Strong And Loving

      Being a mom is not easy. Being a single mom is even more challenging. Having children means you are on the job 24/7. Even while you are sleeping, you are still ready to wake at the slightest peep because that is what moms do.

      Moms, especially single moms, need more people cheering them on. Your love and care matter to your kids. You are their superhero. I think single moms are superheroes, too.

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      The quotes below are words of encouragement for all of the single moms out there. Keep up the great work! Your hard work will pay off. Someday, they will be grown up and living on their own. Your job will never truly be done as a mom, but you can pat yourself on the back today and every day for doing mom duty day in and day out.

      Here are 50 single mom quotes to encourage all the single moms out there.

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      1. “Being raised by a single mother, I learned to appreciate and value independent women.”—Kenny Conley
      2. “As a single mum you’ll discover inner strengths and capabilities you never knew you had.”—Emma-Louise Smith
      3. “One thing I know for sure – this motherhood thing is not for sissies.”—Jennifer Nettles
      4. “Mothers and their children are in a category all their own. There’s no bond so strong in the entire world. No love so instantaneous and forgiving.”—Gail Tsukiyama
      5. “And one day she discovered that she was fierce and strong, and full of fire and that not even she could hold herself back because her passion burned brighter than her fears.”—Mark Anthony
      6. “She never quite leaves her children at home, even when she doesn’t take them along.”—Margaret Culkin Banning
      7. “The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don’t have any.”—Alice Walker
      8. “Everyone has inside of her a piece of good news. The good news is that you don’t know how great you can be, how much you can love, what you can accomplish, and what your potential is.”—Anne Frank
      9. “Doubt is a killer. You just have to know who you are and what you stand for.”—Jennifer Lopez
      10. “You are more powerful than you know; you are beautiful just as you are.”—Melissa Etheridge
      11. “Motherhood is the greatest thing and the hardest thing.”—Ricki Lake
      12. “You don’t take a class; you’re thrown into motherhood and learn from experience.”—Jennie Finch
      13. “If you look at what you have in life, you’ll always have more. If you look at what you don’t have in life, you’ll never have enough.”—Oprah Winfrey
      14. “I am no bird; and no net ensnares me: I am a free human being with an independent will.”—Charlotte Brontë
      15. “Above all, be the heroine of your life, not the victim.”—Nora Ephron
      16. “When a woman becomes her own best friend life is easier.”—Diane Von Furstenberg
      17. “If you want something said, ask a man; if you want something done, ask a woman.”—Margaret Thatcher
      18. “Women have discovered that they cannot rely on men’s chivalry to give them justice.”—Helen Keller
      19. “Successful mothers are not the ones that have never struggled. They are the ones that never give up, despite the struggles.”—Sharon Jaynes
      20. “Success, they taught me, is built on the foundation of courage, hard work, and individual responsibility. Despite what some would have us believe, success is not built on resentment and fears.”—Susana Martinez
      21. “You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them.”—Maya Angelou
      22. “The question isn’t who’s going to let me; it’s who is going to stop me.”—Ayn Rand
      23. “God could not be everywhere, and therefore he made mothers.”—Rudyard Kipling
      24. “The women whom I love and admire for their strength and grace did not get that way because stuff worked out. They got that way because stuff went wrong, and they handled it. They handled it in a thousand different ways on a thousand different days, but they handled it. Those women are my superheroes.”—Elizabeth Gilbert
      25. “There will be so many times you feel like you failed. But in the eyes, ears, and mind of your child, you are a SUPER MOM.”—Stephanie Precourt
      26. “Motherhood is the ultimate call to sacrifice.”—Wangechi Mutu
      27. “We may encounter many defeats but we must not be defeated.”—Maya Angelou
      28. “A mother’s arms are more comforting than anyone else’s.”—Princess Diana
      29. “There’s no way to be a perfect mother and a million ways to be a good one.”—Jill Churchill
      30. “There’s no doubt that motherhood is the best thing in my life. It’s all that really matters.”—Courtney Cox
      31. “I realized when you look at your mother, you are looking at the purest love you will ever know.”—Mitch Albom
      32. “I have found being a mother has made me emotionally raw in many situations. Your heart is beating outside your body when you have a baby.”—Kate Beckinsale
      33. “Single moms, you are a doctor, a teacher, a nurse, a maid, a cook, a referee, a heroine, a provider, a defender, a protector, a true Superwoman. Wear your cape proudly.”—Mandy Hale
      34. “I’m not really single. I mean, I am, but I have a son. Being a single mother is different from being a single woman.”—Kate Hudson
      35. “Being a single parent is twice the work, twice the stress, and twice the tears but also twice the hugs, twice the love, and twice the pride.”—Unknown
      36. “For me, motherhood is learning about the strengths I didn’t know I had, and dealing with the fears I didn’t know existed.”—Halle Berry
      37. “A single mom tries when things are hard. She never gives up. She believes in her family, even when things are tough. She knows that above all things… a mother’s love is more than enough.”—Denice Williams
      38. “You do the best you can. Some days you feel really good about yourself and some days you don’t.”—Katie Holmes
      39. “I would say to any single parent currently feeling the weight of stereotype or stigmatization that I am prouder of my years as a single mother than of any other part of my life.”JK Rowling
      40. “Just because I am a single mother doesn’t mean I cannot be a success.”—Yvonne Kaloki
      41. “I didn’t plan on being a single mom, but you have to deal with the cards you are dealt the best way you can.”—Tichina Arnold
      42. “Nothing you do for children is ever wasted.”—Garrison Keillor
      43. “A single mom tries when things are hard. She never gives up. She believes in her family, even when things are tough. She knows that above all things, a mother’s love is more than enough.”—Deniece Williams
      44. “Motherhood has a very humanizing effect. Everything gets reduced to essentials.”—Meryl Streep
      45. “Having kids—the responsibility of rearing good, kind, ethical, responsible human beings—is the biggest job anyone can embark on.”—Maria Shriver
      46. “Mother is a verb. It’s something you do. Not just who you are.”—Cheryl Lacey Donovan
      47. “A mother’s love for her child is like nothing else in the world. It knows no law, no pity, it dates all things and crushes down remorselessly all that stands in its path.”—Agatha Christie
      48. “A mother’s arms are more comforting than anyone else’s.”—Princess Diana
      49. “The hand that rocks the cradle is the hand that rules the world.”—W.R. Wallace
      50. “Being a mother is the greatest blessing and the hardest challenge in all of life.”—Dr. Magdalena Battles

      Final Thoughts

      Single moms are remarkable women. They are to be respected and honored for all that they do. If you know a single mom, then share this article with them. Tell them “you are doing a great job as a single mom.” They need our encouragement and support.

      They may be parenting alone, but it is good to let them know that there are people in their life who care for them. We can all be there for the single moms out there. Even if it is just to say, “keep up the great work, you are an amazing woman!”

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      If you are a single mom, keep up the good work! You are amazing, and your kids are lucky to have you!

      More Tips for Single Moms

      Featured photo credit: Alexander Dummer via unsplash.com

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