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Parents get mixed signals with raising daughters

By   /   February 4, 2013  /   Comments

What’s a parent to do?  On one hand, I’ve heard for years that I need to help my daughter be comfortable in her own skin.  On the other, I hear about an obesity epidemic affecting our children.  So, I’m supposed to help my daughter be comfortable at whatever weight she will be (at 10 months, it’s a little early to sweat it), while at the same time making sure is at a healthy weight.  Please, someone tell me how in the world I’m supposed to do that?

Now, I get that you shouldn’t belittle a child because of their weight.  Parents who do that are pathetic excuses for human beings, but that’s true of anything.  Parents who belittle their kids for their “flaws” are just asking for a future that involves massive therapy bills for kids with self esteem problems.

However, it’s been presented to parents that any negative comment about a girls weight could send her towards a lifetime of anorexia.  Was it meant to be presented that way?  Probably not.  As I said before, expert deplore the high rates of obesity in kids, and if you can’t urge your child to be healthier – and by extension, thinner – then we’ll end up looking like the people on Wall-E.

The problem is, we live in a society where each expert speaks about their area of expertise as if its the most important problem in the world.  In their mind, it probably is.  The world doesn’t work that way.  You can’t solve one problem and make the world all better.  It’s unfortunately, but in trying to solve one, you usually present others…like how experts who are trying to stop girls from getting eating disorders, but in the process make it seem like parents need to say nothing about an overweight daughter.

In reality, there’s a balance that needs to be met.  Supportive parents who nudge their kids towards more healthy choices in their food, increased exercise, and anything else that will help with their weight will do fine.  However, it’s a difficult thing with a child.  While my daughter is only 10 months, my son is 11, and we are dealing with weight issues there.  He’s a great kid, who does a great job on most everything he tries.  We’re lucky.  However, we have learned that kids do their own things unless you tell them exactly why they need to do it.  Otherwise, they have a tendency to not understand the importance and let stuff go.

We, as parents, have gotten mixed signals for some time.  As parents, we’ll figure it out.  However, it would help if the experts realized that their issue isn’t the only thing we parents have to face.  There’s a whole lot more going on, and we’re stuck trying to balance it all out.

Tom Knighton is the Editor and Publisher of the Albany Journal.

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Owner / Editor / Writer

Tom Knighton is the publisher of The Albany Journal. In November, 2011, he became the first blogger to take over a newspaper anywhere in the world. In August of 2012, he made the difficult decision to take the Journal out of print circulation and become an online news agency, a first for the Albany area.

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