The case of Ms. Weiss, a New York socialite, whose approach was extremely and potentially damaging to her child’s mental health, and is a case study in what NOT to do in helping you child manage their weight.
Ms. Weiss explains to Vogue how she put her 7-year-old daughter on a strict diet after her daughter came home crying that a boy called her fat. Ms. Weiss’ daughter was clinically obese, according to her height and weight, and she was clearly suffering from some emotional distress because of it. Therefore, you can’t blame Ms. Weiss for wanting to act. However, it was how she acted that is a good case study in what NOT to do.
Instead of making her compassionate for her daughter, Ms. Weiss’ own battle with weight left her extremely intolerant and ignorant to the damage she was causing. She speaks of her anger and annoyance at her daughter’s hunger. She used words like “grating” and “exhausting”, which may be understandable to feel, but not to say directly to a child who is just forming their identity. In the article, Ms. Weiss chronicles her approach to monitoring each and every calorie her child ate. She publically humiliated her whenever there was even a minor infraction. She berated other moms who fed her child when her daughter was visiting or playing with them.
Understandably, Ms. Weiss is getting bashed by many. This isn’t to bash her, per se, but to use this case as a good example of what NOT to do.
- Do NOT assume you know why your child isn’t full: It is extremely important that you understand the root cause of the issue. Is it emotional? Is it physical? Is it both? If your child is hungry all the time, there is likely a reason. Placing an emotional judgment on the situation is damaging.
- Do NOT create an environment of shame: Shame is never a good tool to use with children. Shame leads to a poor self-image and low self-esteem. Both in turn can lead to the development of eating disorders, depression, and even suicide.
- Do NOT project your own struggles onto your child: You may be frustrated with your own struggles with your weight. Seeing your child struggle with the same issues is likely to trigger an emotional response. Be prepared for it, but know that you can’t solve your own problem through your child. You will only be perpetuating them.
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