View Full Version : 9 year old thinks she's overweight
09-25-2008, 02:06 PM
Hi I am new here. I am so sad for my daughter and I don't know how to help her. Somehow she has the idea that she is overweight. She brings this up when she gets dressed and when she is going to bed at night. She says she wants to exercise more to "lose weight" so "boys will like her."
This is a sensitive, smart, average-sized kid who weighs about 70 lbs which the doctor said was spot-on at her last appointment. She has a healthy little-girl body and wears size 10 clothes. I guess she could probably benefit from running around more (she was unable to play soccer or swim in late summer/fall due to a broken arm) but is not in any way "overweight."
More importantly, I am concerned that at 9 she is already focusing on body image and boys. We don't watch Disney or Nickelodeon in our house, we don't do Bratz or Hannah Montana, so I don't know where these ideas are coming from. I guess it must be from school.
Anyway, if anyone has gone through this with their daughters and can give me some advice, I sure would appreciate it. My wish for her would be that she would see how beautiful and smart she is and feel confident in herself, without worrying so much about the external. How can I reinforce those messages?
09-30-2008, 08:41 AM
She's of course getting it everywhere else: TV movies, commercials, MTV, songs, videos, friends, school, other people, even the grocery store (the magazine covers at the check-out counter): Our culture saturates their lives with sexual images, style, beauty, glamor, and status. The boys get the same thing and direct their responses towards the girls.
Yea, but what works? What really works? That's what we'd all want. Here's a scenario involving dad which has carefully cultured a close relationship with her in the first 9 years: They're sitting together, he looks at her . . . in that way she's come to recognize. It builds up. He starts crying (just a little), and begins to break down a bit. This really upsets her and she of course asks why he's crying. He explains: "you, it hurts me to see you growing up and having to deal with girl-hood. It's tough for you I know and there's little I can do only to help you to be strong, healthy, and knowledgeable about it.".
You know what she's going to say . . . and do. And you know why.
Yea I know, the problem is getting dad to do that . . .
10-05-2008, 01:17 PM
I saw The Hills yesterday. I like the show and find it interesting. There was a scene between Heidi and her mom. Granted it was her mom and not her dad and they were talking about something else but still . . . interesting. I wonder how it would have been different if it were her dad at the table instead? I dont' know. Maybe nothing.
10-05-2008, 08:28 PM
Yeah, it's everywhere. Definitely use encouraging words. If you do exercise with her, emphasize that exercise important for being healthy--not for looking a certain way. It keeps our hearts and lungs healthy and our bones and muscles strong. I'd look into counseling simply because these body image issues and ideas of needing to be thinner could easily result in anorexic-type thinking. If nowhere else, try the school counselor. I'm usualy not an alarmist, but some things I'd definitely rather be safe than sorry (and this is one of them). Good job being on your toes and wanting to address the situation instead of denying and ignoring it. Good luck to you both!
10-23-2008, 11:41 AM
:( Makes me so sad for you and your daughter. My heart goes out to her adolescence is so ROUGH! :(
This is what I would do. You and your daughter should enrol together in a YOGA class. It will be a healthy way for her to feel like she is doing something "pro-active" about... "her weight" even though you know she isn't overweight. She will start to DO something on her own so It's better if you start to guide her as to WHAT to DO. Telling her she isn't overweight is not going to stop her brain from thinking it - it'll just stop her mouth from telling you.
It will also be a good bonding time for the two of you while NOT putting her body through a vigorous workout. You aren't taking her to the gym and saying ok fatty get on the treadmill. You are doing a light strength training, mind and body program. Of course continue to validate her self esteem by letting her know she isn't overweight but if she has a body image issue ( I forget what its called but girls with eating disorders have this - when they look in the mirror their eyes see an extra 20 lbs where there isn't any) Its almost like halucinating she may REALLY see herself as a big person. A good way to find out if she has this. Without being judgemental have her point out in public or on TV people whos body she thinks either she looks like or she wants to look like. If she picks larger children - thinking she looks like them then you know she might need some counceling.
But try yoga with her - It may trick her brain into thinking she's loosing a dramatic amount of weight - when really she's not loosing any at all.
( It always works for me, I feel GREAT after Yoga - like I lost 10lbs in one session I do it now that I'm pregnant and I have the opposite body thing. I think that I am REALLY small for a pregnant lady ... until I see pictures then I'm like HOLY MOLY look at that belly. But you see what I mean - my brain says " You are tiny" while my body really isnt)
Couldn't hurt! Lots of places have Mommy and ME yoga ( my gym charges an extra $10 for the class (Ballys) ) on Saturday afternoons. She won't be the only kid there and it'll be a totally warm experience for her.
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