You might see parents unnoticeably body shaming their children. There are also parents pushing their children to become what they envisioned their child to be, without realizing the effects that they have in their children’s mental health wellness. Psychologists say that body shaming, even if done unintentionally, will damage your children until they grow up. They will lack self-esteem, for one.
In this article, we will be discussing nine common mistakes parents make and how you can avoid making these mistakes yourself.
- You are bashing your own body in front of your child. You are your child’s role model. They look up to you, and if they see you or talking bad about yourself, they will think it’s okay, and they might even do that to their bodies that can lead to developing some eating disorder along the way.
- You are talking about diet. It might be reasonable to you but talking about how you can’t eat this or you can’t eat that will also affect your child’s perception of food. You are sending out a message that it’s okay to deprive and starve yourself to look good. Instead, try to avoid talking about diet in front of your child and make sure their food habits support them.
- Avoid fat jokes. Fat people have continuously become a target of jokes and other unnecessary comments from the media and other forms of entertainment. Overweight people have been bullied for being the way they are, and it can be hard to love yourself if you see yourself as something people will make jokes at. Instead, show your child you are not enjoying these offensive words and actions and will instead bot listen or entertain people showing these kinds of behavior.
- Stop referring to food as good or bad. Yes, there are types of food that when overeaten, can hurt your body. Too many people have become obsessed with eating healthy to the extent they avoid certain food groups and having a deficiency on some nutrients. Eating healthy means eating a balanced meal and indulging once in a while.
- You are treating a child based on their size. You might treat your more massive kid more sternly like not giving them dessert or making them exercise every day while their skinnier sibling can eat as much dessert they can have and not exercise if they like. It can feel embarrassing for the child because he/she is treated differently instead of treating both children equally. Both can benefit from exercising, and both can get a dessert, and both have limits to their food intake, so they feel the same and equally loved and supported.
- Stop talking about exercise as a means to lose weight. Not everybody who exercises wants to get thinner or to have a beautiful body. They only want to be healthy and be fit. Don’t let your child believe that exercise is only for fat people.
- You are commenting on other people’s weight. It is very offensive, especially for some when you compliment or say on their bodies, especially if you point out that they have gained weight over time. Anyone who hears this will find it offensive and they can get embarrassed when they don’t have to be in the first place. Don’t let your child witness this from you for they can take this as an excellent way to open a conversation with others when, in fact, it’s not.
- You are always giving attention to your child’s weight. If you focus on your child’s weight, they will think that they are only significant in your eyes if they have the body you always tell them to have. They may lose themselves in the process of their weight loss or weight gain and would think nothing is more important when there are more things you can be proud of them doing instead of making their weight a problem.
- You see weight as part of the diversity of humans. Whoever said there is only one acceptable body in the entire universe? The human race has many cultures, and not everyone’s the same. Our body is based on unique genetics that makes us different from each other. The same goes for body weight. Even if you seem more substantial than others, but your weight is just right for your body, there is no reason for you to do anything about your weight but to maintain it and keep your body healthy.
So if your child is healthy as he can get, then, you should not worry too much. They should feel loved no matter what and if you see their body change and it affects their health and lifestyle, then you should talk to them and explain to them what would happen if they don’t take care of their body. It is not about having a beautiful body that is being dictated by society. It is about being healthy and living life to the fullest.