Kids and Choices
anonymous Asks ...
My 8 year old daughter is 4 foot 6 and she weighs 135 pounds. She is not interested in exercise of any kind. I have been trying to model healthy eating and exercise habits but she doesn’t seem to care. I do not want to put her on a diet because of the message that sends but when I let her choose how much to eat she eats too much and she eats too much junk food as well (even though we don’t have it at home she has an allowance and her friends and grandma also supply it). How do I get her to lose weight without putting a lot of negative pressure on her? I don’t want her hungry but something has to change.
Jim LaPierre Says ...
I applaud you for wanting to help your daughter without shaming her or making her overly self conscious. I'd suggest getting on the same page with grandma and expressing your concerns. I'd suggest not allowing your daughter to choose her own portions and ensuring that what is available to her is healthy. I wouldn't see a lot of value in dissuading her from eating junk food (losing battle). Instead I would ask you what's going on in your daughter's life? Is she eating to cope with negative emotions? Is there an emptiness or absence in her life? How can these needs be met?
Encouraging an active lifestyle will help and avoids the battle over calories. What could you be doing with her in exercise that is fun/involves spending time as a family? Talking with your daughter about her goals and her feelings about her body may inspire more investment from her. Good luck and please follow up with more questions if I can be of service!