"Yes, you really are a fatty"
This mom says it’s best to be honest, even if the truth hurts.
By Scott Dunlop
When Anna Maxted’s 10-year-old son opened up to her about his “big tummy”, it made her review how a parent’s honesty (or lack of it) may impact vital stages in her children’s development, according to the Daily Mail.
Article originally in Parent24
Anna looked at the facts: Yes, her son was a little overweight, as he had overloaded on sweets and treats during the holidays, but he definitely wasn’t obese. To her, it would be a lie to gloss over it: “Eat less rubbish”, she replied to him.
Her son’s admittance reminded her of her own experience as a child, how, when other kids were calling her a “fat pig” (she was a little overweight) in the playground, her parents would assure her she wasn’t fat at all. This prompted years of anxiety about her body, self-image issues and even eating disorders.
Being cruel to be kind?
She‘s insistent: “As a former anorexic, I wouldn't flinch from telling my children if they had a weight problem - and doing something about it. Telling the truth to your children about their weight - while being careful not to humiliate them - is the duty of a responsible parent.
Because if you ignore it or deny it, for fear of hurting their feelings, they may suffer in the long term in ways you can't imagine. When I advised my gorgeous boy Oscar to eat less rubbish, it was not about him looking good. It was about him feeling good. I was not going to placate him with a patronising lie about 'body diversity'.
Refusing to talk honestly about weight is what causes problems. I should know. My poor parents never dared approach me about my eating habits. The result? A decade of agony for the whole family.”
The harm caused by protection
Her theory is that if the parent isn’t honest about her child’s shortcomings, he’ll hear it from classmates, friends or just on the street, in a far less sensitive fashion.
“The trouble is, you don’t boost children’s self-esteem by protecting them from criticism. All that does is make their self-esteem fragile, liable to be crushed by any glancing blow”.
In being open with her kids about food and the effects it has, she says she’s learned to relax. She realises that her own issues with eating have to be set aside when it comes to discussing problematic eating with her kids, breaking the cycle of insecurity and fear.
Do you agree that Anna’s honesty with her son is healthy?