Helping the Overweight Child - Helping your child with social and emotional concerns
It doesn't take long for children to figure out that our culture and
their peers idealize thinness. Children who
are overweight are especially at risk of being teased and feeling alone. This
can cause low self-esteem and
For information about
helping a child who is being teased, see the topic
To help your child
have greater health, confidence, and self-esteem, you can:
Avoid talking in terms of your child's weight.
How you talk about your child's body has a big impact on your child's
self-image. Instead, talk in terms of your child's health, activity level, and
other healthy lifestyle choices.
Be a good role model by having
a healthy attitude about food and activity. Even if you struggle with how you
feel about your own body, avoid talk in front of your child about "being fat"
and "needing to diet." Instead, talk about and make the same healthy lifestyle
choices you'd like for your child.
Encourage activities, such as
sports and theater. Physical activity helps build physical and emotional
confidence. Try different types of sports and activities until your child finds
one that he or she likes. Theater can help a child project strength and confidence,
even if he or she doesn't feel it at first.
involvement in community, church, and school activities, which build social
skills and confidence.
Help your child eat well by providing
healthy food choices. Consider seeing a
registered dietitian for guidance and new food
Forbid any child (yours included) to tease another
child about weight. Talk to your child's teachers and/or counselors, if