When it all begins at Home…

I was  in the grocery store the other day when I saw a mother and her little girl shopping together.  The mother obviously recognized a woman she was passing, as they exchanged hugs and pleasantries.

I wasn’t paying much attention, until I over-heard the woman tell her friend, “Wait, you have to listen to this, it’s so cute.”

She bent down to her little girl, who was about six years old and as cute as a button, and asked, “Would you like some chocolate?”

“No,” the girl shrieked.  She had obviously rehearsed this response many times, as her eyes widened and her hands spread out into the air dramatically.  “Chocolate makes me fat!”

Both woman burst into laughter, and the woman gave her daughter an approved pat on the head like one would congratulate a dog for sitting on command.

And I left, feeling disgusted, realizing that sometimes it’s not even the media’s fault.  Sometimes the downward spiral of I’m-not-skinny-enough-feelings can be planted even younger.  They can even begin at home.

And it broke my heart.

I vowed to myself that should I ever have children, they won’t see me diet.  See me pose in the mirror and ask if I’m fat.  Or see me eat completely different meals than the rest of the family, just because I’m afraid of gaining an ounce.

The struggle to be super skinny for the sake of fitting an image isn’t important enough to me.  And that struggle is not something I would want to pass onto my children.

I’ve personally gone through that struggle of trying to fit a perfect image of skinny before.  It’s over, thank God, but the memory of all the hurt and pain is not.

Healthy is beautiful.  But Skinny?

Skinny is nothing.

How do you feel about that?  Do you think that comments made by parents, although meant to be harmless, could instill some dangerous thoughts about body image into their children?

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9 Responses to When it all begins at Home…

  1. Homestead Ramblings says:

    So sad. ( I’d add Barbie dolls to the list of things not to get a child.)

  2. sarahnsh says:

    I totally agree that this is very sad, but so true that these weight problems start at a young age. I don’t think any negative comments about weight are harmless when someone is a child, it sticks into their head longer and they don’t know any better than to go with what their parents tell them.

  3. Caitlyn says:

    This is really disappointing. To be so young and have such a distorted perception of food, health, your body. Then, to be a mother and encourage that attitude! It makes me a bit angry. I wish I could hand (or shove) the book Intuitive Eating in that mother’s face. There’s a lot to be learned by reading that book.

    You have such a good attitude about parenting! No child should have to hear their parents complain about their weight or talk about dieting. I absolutely love what your said about “Healthy being beautiful!!” So true. That’s why I love the new ads that say Healthy is the New Skinny, or something like that. Now we just need to post that on billboards across the nation!

  4. Ugh! That makes me so sad. Yes, I definitely think that parents have tons to do with a child’s attitude toward food/weight/dieting. I grew up watching my mom get upset with herself in dressing rooms and yo yo diet my entire life. I’ve struggled with an eating disorder since I was in high school and I do feel I was heavily influenced by my mom’s perception of herself.

  5. lifeandothermisadventures says:

    That’s so sad.

  6. Wow, that’s incredible. I think one of the worst things we can do to each other as women is judge each other on the way we look by using society’s standards. I know that I have struggled with this for years, never being quite happy with the way I looked, always trying to find solace in anything else (my brains, my talents, anything but my looks). However, I do have to say that my mom is my biggest supporter.

    Even though I did grow up watching her deal with her weight and her health issues, she has always made it a point to tell me I am worth it at any size. If we talk about diet or exercise, it’s always about being healthy, never about losing weight. Other family members were a lot harder on me, though. I remember my grandmother telling me she would stop buying clothes for me if I went over a certain size. I also remember how livid my mother was when she found out.

  7. Sarah says:

    This post sent chills up my spine.

    It’s a topic I feel SO strongly about, as there are so many distorted images and ideas being sent to women of all ages. It’s almost like it’s *expected* of us as women to find the flaws in our body. To judge ourselves and to want to be skinny and “perfect.” The fact that this women set the message of “good food vs. bad food” and weight to a perfectly innocent child just boggles my mind and makes me absolutely angry.

    Your future kids are blessed to have a mom who loves them so much that she wants them to love them for who they are too!

  8. Dawn says:

    It is sad….the sad part is that the mother has no clue what she is doing to her child and it may be something she picked up as a young child from her mother. A crazy cycle to be on.

  9. Wow…that is sad and frightening all at once!

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