Curbing the Comments - Helping children with weight problems to feel loved and accepted.
By VicToria Freudiger

Nothing pains us more than to have to comfort our children who have been stung from that all familiar critical ‘being made fun of’ by others. My childhood, as well as many others, was riddled with not-so-friendly children making fun of me because of my size.

During my childhood the comments thrown my way were more along the lines of “Hey, giraffe neck” or “Move over skinny legs.” The children throwing these comments at me were usually not as skinny as I was and therefore didn’t suffer from the low self-esteem that comes from being made fun of because of appearances. The other group of kids that were made fun of even more than myself was the ones that were overweight.

It was not until the age of thirty that I began to weigh more than ninety pounds. Neither of my parents was overweight and really no one in our family suffered from obesity. Still, one of my best friends was a beautiful girl who suffered horribly from being obese and throughout my life I have had other overweight friends who have shared their feelings with me. The feelings themselves were what was similar.
The problem of being made fun of can come about because of being too thin or too heavy in body frame and either way, it is the comments themselves that in my opinion do the most damage. When a child is ridiculed over and over again by his peers, his or her self-esteem drops dramatically and this can cause one type of child to eat even less and the other type of child to eat more food.

There are a growing number of people who are currently writing informative articles to help parents and caregivers to correctly deal with children’s diets and eating habits. But today, what we’d like to offer is a little bit of information that will help you as a parent and/or caregiver, to show your children and/or grandchildren how to deal with the hurtful comments given them because of their size.

ABC Feelings products have been created with ‘feelings’ in mind. Our posters, dictionaries, flashcards, CD’s, tapes, and books have all been created taking one feeling at a time. Our Learning/Coloring book begins with the letter, “A” and the word, “Accepted” and continues throughout the alphabet all the way to the letter “Z” and the word, “Zippy.” Each feeling is focused on first with a drawing to help the child learn the meaning of the word and then it provides a space for the child to draw, talk out, and often share, with others about times in their lives that they have felt “accepted” or “rejected” as well as “sad” or “happy.” ABC Feelings provides a dialogue with each feeling described. These dialogues can act as ‘word diets’ and will bring about healthy interaction, which will in turn motivate your child to open up to you and discuss the hurtful things that are being said to them.

Our granddaughter is currently overweight and greatly suffers from the ridicule being placed on her by children not suffering from this problem. She is amongst the one out of four school age children who are now overweight and this is twice the number reported twenty years ago. So, ‘no’ – her size is not a rarity, but it still provokes her classmates to throw snide remarks her way.

One of the things we are teaching her is that ‘more’ is not necessarily better. Instead of giving her more food to make her feel better, we give her different types of food. By doing this we can still keep her diet fun, eventful and comforting but it won’t cause her to continue to gain weight. The one thing we notice too is that when we return back to the ABC Storybook, she shares events her feelings about the events of her life, even the sad and unhappy ones.

The emotional well-being of our society can be an important thing to focus on as we go about being parents and grandparents who are less at home these days. Realize if you are not there, the kids may fend for themselves by eating more snacks; so, place these where only you can reach them and make it a fun time had by everyone when the snacks are eaten. Try to eat home cooked meals more often than fast foods in order to provide your child a road to healthy eating habits. These choices only increase the chances of better health and in the end, less critical comments being made to them.

Exercise can be fun and extremely helpful in bringing about a healthy body weight. Spend a few minutes exercising with your children and then spend a few minutes using the ABC Flashcards. This will show them that you not only want to spend time helping them to become healthy – you want to spend time helping them to become happier as well. It is important to note that strict dieting can damage metabolic functions, create poor eating habits and even increase chances of eating disorders. Therefore, continue to focus on the understanding of positive body image and healthy attitudes and this alone will bring about an ability to have functional eating patterns.

After working through the ABC Feelings products, children become more capable of returning to daycare, or their elementary classes and feel more proud of themselves. Their experiences of sharing their feelings at home brings about being more comfortable to share their feelings with teachers and other caregivers. This alone, will help them to not be made fun of and therefore, they will learn to have healthy relationship with other classmates. Step into the emotional arena and teach them to seek solutions to bring about changes both health-wise and character-wise. Having been taught the healthy emotional attitudes, they will also learn to be children interacting with other children in a fun way instead of a hurtful way. This alone will bring about a healthier atmosphere for your child both at home and away from home.

ABC Feelings cares about you and your child learning about how to have a healthier future and we know that once you gather our products, you will discover for yourself an easier way to cope with your child’s weight and emotional problems.

Author's Bio: 

As Founder and Editorial Director of Entry Way Marketing and Publishing as well as for Digi-Tall Media, VicToria Freudiger has taken years as a writer and brought forward many of her skills in order to help others. Not only has she made it the company's mission to help writers, the focus continues on a daily basis to help children to enjoy reading. Helping children become healthier is a drive that spurs her on daily.