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    Raising Fit Kids: Healthy Nurtition, Exercise, and Weight

      This content is selected and controlled by WebMD's editorial staff in collaboration with Sanford Health Systems.

    Tips for Parents

    Major lifestyle changes that affect the whole family can be daunting -- and your teen may push back at first. These tips can help you keep things moving forward.

    Don't change everything at once.

    Don't suddenly outlaw all sweets, demand 2-hour jogs, and hide the video-game console in the garage. That will backfire and set your teen up for failure. Start with the simplest changes -- ones that your child can complete and feel good about. Focus on doing them every day, and then encourage them to do more over time. You may want to consider family challenges or a reward system.

    Don't micro-manage.

    If you comment on every bite she puts in her mouth, she's likely to get angry and withdraw. You’ll also damage her confidence in her own decision-making. She’s trying to make some big changes in her life, and it will take time. She'll slip up here and there, and that's normal. What you want to see is progress, so try to keep the big picture in mind.

    Stress a positive body image.

    In our popular media, thin is beautiful. That’s hard for a heavy kid. You can’t change culture or what she sees online. But you can emphasize what's important. Comment on your teen's strengths and positive qualities regularly. Let her know that she is wonderful, and you love her unconditionally. Help her see that the people who make judgments based on looks are not seeing her for who she is.


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