Simple Reasons to Talk About Weight With Your Child

How do you make it through the least fun conversation ever?

Like the puberty talk you've probably had with your kid, science is your friend here.

In another post I gave you a script for talking to your child about weight. Here, I'm talking about why you should do it.

Experts who've studied how parents talk to kids about weight warn against it. You can read summaries of the studies in the NY Times here and here.

So, we're not supposed to talk to our kids about weight; but everybody else around them is.

Heavy kids know they are heavy. Their classmates remind them daily. It's rude and rough out there in kid land.

Even if their friends are nice and nobody has said anything; almost any magazine they look at will remind them their body is different. Snapchat stories and Instagram feeds are full of the gorgeous, heavily filtered and aggressively photoshopped, and offer click-bait on six pack abs and bikini-ready bods.

If we pretend our kids aren't gaining weight, and don't talk to them, is that really protective?  Or does that make them feel more shame? 

The arguments against talking about weight sound like the arguments we used to have over whether to teach kids sex ed. If we don't talk about sex, puberty doesn't go away. And neither does sex. There are still zits, parties, and making out. And keeping quiet doesn't keep kids from getting STDs or unwanted pregnancies. Sex-positive education helps kids get through it all armed with information about what's happening to them and how to make their own choices.

Similarly, round kids are well aware when they're bigger than other kids. So parents and other adults should bring it up, without assigning shame or blame. Go over all of the science and make sure your child feels comfortable coming to you to talk about how he feels.

If you've been fighting and nagging your kids about weight, food, or exercise, you may need to do some repair work and apologize before you have a connected, relaxed, positive conversation. If you're having a hard time reconnecting, check out Positive Discipline by Dr. Nelson.

Would love to know what you think and what you've said to your kids. Shoot me an email at deb@treatkids.co or join our private Facebook group.