Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Another Fine Line - Teaching Kids

I have been thinking about how to teach my 2 kids about proper nutrition, being overweight and exercise.  My problem is how do you teach this properly and not end up giving them some kind of complex later on in life.  How do you make then sensitive to overweight people (* see below) and at the same time give them desire never to get that way.

Where I am coming from - I grew up in a "clean your plate" family.  I was also served more portions so that no food goes to waste or too small for leftovers.  I don't want or mean to offend my parents with this, it was what their generation did.  However later in life this "clean the plate" theory translated to me feelings like I always need to clean my plate.  As you can imagine with today's restaurant portions, I overstuffed myself.  It has taken many many years to break this habit.  I now leave food on my plate constantly much to my Mr's chagrin.  He comes from a "clean you plate" family too but he doesn't have an obesity problem like I do (just some chub).

Before kids we decided we will NOT institute the "clean your plate" method.  Honestly, I feel my 6yo eats when he is hungry and stops when he feels right, even with sweets.  If he doesn't eat enough, then no desert.  My secondary problem is he is super picky which may be a result of multiple food allergies (wheat, soy, beans, corn, etc).  We are struggling with his pickyness and finding food he likes and can eat.  I don't restrict the bad stuff, just limit it and explain why (too much sugar, etc).

* I personally think overweight people are severely discriminated against and it is accepted.  I think it is wrong.


  1. When Ryan was 2 and 3, he yelled out in Target (and Denny's) "look at how FAT he is!" To a little kid that age it was just an observation... like "look at the airplane!" I try to tell the boys that we are careful not to point it out to people because if they are fat, they already know it and because it means their body may not be as healthy as it could be it might make them feel bad. I also mention that when they are ready hopefully they will be take action to get healthy again. They seem to get that. And it also instills the sense of control over the situation. I don't know if that is the "right" approach, but it's the best I could think of.

  2. Melody HendersonMay 12, 2010 at 4:51 PM

    Amy, I hear you! And, I think the problem is multiplied when you have girls! Girls seem to be more naturally inclined to obsess about their body image and in today's society it's even more prevelant. I think it's more acceptable for a guy to be moderately overweight than it is for girls. Amanda, my 5 year old, has already made comments to me regarding why she won't wear certain outfits because "they make her look fat".... she's 5 for goodness sake!

  3. Mel - another reason I am happy I don't have girls. So hard. Just remember to use this word - airbrushing. Find a you tube demo on it, its crazy.