Worst abuela in the world says 6-month-old is "fat" & it will backfire BIG TIME
Have you ever met an adult who was completely obsessed with her child's appearance? There are adults out there who fixate on their child's weight. You've heard of living vicariously through your children? This is sort of like that. As someone who has been in recovery from eating disorders for 15 years, I have had to work very hard not to obsess over my daughters' weight but instead focus on health. I have to constantly stop myself from fat talking myself or talking in terms of weight because I know that little ears hear everything.
Recently in the New York Times Social Q's column, a mom wrote in to get some advice on how to handle her crazy mother-in-law who is obsessed with her 6-month-old granddaughter's weight. Yes, 6 months old! That abuela is crazy.
Read more ¿Qué más?: Truth be told: My girls need to know what it means to be Mexican
My husband and I have a beautiful 6-month-old daughter. She is chubby but not overweight by any means. My mother-in-law, who obviously has a weight obsession and is quite thin, has started making comments about my daughter's size: "I can't believe her legs are so big when she kicks all the time." Or: "She'll thin out when she starts to crawl." My husband knows that these comments bother me, but he will not address them with her. I want to protect my daughter from her grandmother's damaging and unhealthy fixation with weight. What should I do?
Okay, first this mom and dad need to sit Abuela down immediately and tell her that she needs to stop with all the fat talk in front of the baby. Honestly, she needs to stop thinking this way. Don't worry about chubby legs on a 6-month-old. That is normal! As long as the pediatrician hasn't said anything about the baby's weight there is nothing to worry about. Is Abuela doctor?
An adult using fat talk in front of a child is just dangerous. Kids hear everything and then they internalize these words and turn them against themselves. I know this firsthand.
When I was 12, my father told me that I needed to "run more." The next day, I went on my first diet. I was 12. His words stuck in my head and I started seeing a person who needed to exercise more. I took the whole thing, internalized it and felt like shit about my weight for years; still do on most days
By the time I was 18, I had developed bulimarexia. My dad never told me that I was fat and he certainly didn't tell me to stop eating but when kids hear words, they can't unhear them.
Irresponsible people like this abuela, scare me. Don't talk about your weight in front of your children and certainly don't talk about theirs. Forcus on health, on happiness, on all the good in them. Forget the negative speak.
My rule has always been if you don't have anything good to say, then stay the hell away fromt my children. I don't need some careless person's slip of the tongue undo all my years of building my chidlren up. If Grandma can't abide by these rules then Grandma needs to stay away until she learns to watch what she says.
Image via TenaciousMe/Flickr