Are you an overweight adult? Do you have an overweight child? Are you familiar with how unhappy a person can be when they are overweight? Parents are entirely responsible if their child grows up to be an overweight, unhappy adult, not to mention them having heart disease, diabetes, etc., caused by you.
I am amazed to see parents on talk shows complaining about their child being overweight. Do they think the child is the one responsible for going to the store to buy fattening snack food? Do they think the child will eat enough dinner for a grown man if the parent does not allow it? Once again, it all comes back to what the parent buys, serves, and the serving sizes.
Most of the time the parents buy fattening snack foods, and then hands them out as rewards or as a replacement for attention. If a parent feels guilty for not giving enough positive attention to the child, they can easily get in the rut of making the child smile by handing them fattening treats. But, why is the house stocked with these fattening treats? Often this is because the parent likes to eat them, too.
Most of us know the term “love foods.” These are foods that, subconsciously, make us feel good because we associated them with being loved, or being rewarded, or for having them at parties, and special occasions. We grow up wanting them, craving them, and not even knowing why. The parent is entirely in charge of this emotional, subconscious happiness. By realizing this, the parent can stop this, in the child, now!
I was at a buffet the other day. I was so happy to see a child running, with glee, holding a plate with watermelon, strawberries and pretzel sticks. He looked like he had just received a great Christmas present. That child will grow up thinking that healthy foods can be special treats, rewards, lovely after-dinner sweets, and more. It is obvious how the child learned these good ideas about fruits and relatively low-cal pretzels. The parents had taught him these foods were great!
You, too, can say, “YUM!” when you eat healthy snacks. That will make a small child think these things are terrific, and want to eat them with you. On the rare occasions you do give a fattening snack, or an extra serving of spaghetti for dinner, you can always say, “Now, this is fattening food, and should not be eaten too often, okay?” Do not underestimate the age the child has to be to learn that. Just as they learn the words, “Mommy”, “Daddy”, “cat”, “dog”, “no”, “yes” “good girl/boy”, they can learn “I love you,” instead of you tossing a cupcake to them. They can learn “This is not good for you, so we will not do this very often, okay?” You can say, “it does not feel good to be overweight, so I don’t want that to happen to you.” They will understand it after repetition. Start them very young!
Once again….the child doesn’t buy the food that’s in your house. If it is not there, they will not grow to expect it. If it is there, you put it there. Did you put it there because you are an overeater? Get control of yourself, a bit. The child is like a piece of clay which you turn into a fat ball, or a lean log. They copy you. You mold the child. Think about it, and think about it often. Give quality time and say “I love you!” instead of making sad, fat kids. They will grow up emotionally confident, as well as healthy, if you try harder.