D.S. asks from New Haven, CT on April 11, 2010
I quit smoking over 2 years ago and lost my job about a year ago and have put on weight. about 25 lbs.... my son has recently called my mom and me fat he is 4....when my mom asked where he learned this he said "daddy"... wjat do I say to my partner,. My son did not learn this on his own and it hurts alot.....
R.J. answers from San Diego on April 11, 2010
We tell our son that "In this culture, that's a word that hurts people's feelings".
We define via culture, because he has some friends from different parts of Africa... in fact, my sister can't come over during any of these playdates... because she is "Reuben-esque", aka drop-dead runway model GORGEOUS in THEIR culture; and it causes friction, a LOT of friction, between the other parents.
We teach our son to watch for the clues that tell when a person is sad/happy/embarrassed/proud ... because following the wrong cultural cues is really really hurtful. (Our line about "rudeness" is that it's a way to verbally hit/kick a person... so if you wouldn't walk up and slap someone in the face, you are NOT rude to them).
Ditto TALK to your son's dad. Many men are often clueless, and still others are just out and out cruel on purpose. Either way, this needs to be dealt with.
(From someone who gained 160 lbs, and has lost most of it, that "gulp-gulp-dieing-inside feeling isn't one ANYONE should feel, especially as caused by the most loved).
2 moms found this helpful
S.H. answers from Honolulu on April 11, 2010
Bravo Riley... excellent answer!
In our State as well, so many cultures and "norms" for physical shape... the Polynesian culture for example, thinks that full figured women are beautiful.
You tell your Partner... that he is damaging his son... and teaching him disrespect.... and hurting others is NOT acceptable no matter what.
Next, YOU need to correct your son, and talk to him. Did you?
A 4 year old can realize, that words hurts. Teach your son. AND you are his MOMMY... it is simply not nice.
You just need to correct the issue with your son, teaching him proper attitudes and thoughts. And tell your Partner to STOP putting garbage in a child's heart and mind. That is mean. Especially to say that about a child's own Mommy.
all the best,
1 mom found this helpful
A.D. answers from New York on April 12, 2010
Kids are naturally observant to differences in people and they tend to shout things out at the worst possible moment. He may or may not have learned this from your partner, but he would learn it around this age somewhere. Also, there's a big difference in an innocent child pointing out to you (or even to the person they are talking about) an observation that someone is fat - some people are VERY fat and kids notice and comment on this. Its another if he is using it in a mean way - THAT would definitely be LEARNED from someone.
I think you need to talk to both of them. You need to let your son know that people are all different shapes and sizes, some will be in wheelchairs or have other disabilities. Let him know that it is ok for him to talk to you about what he sees, but it is never alright to be mean to anyone about their weight or whatever makes them different. You need to let your partner know that there is no room for name calling in this family and he should not make fun of your weight or your mother's weight, or anyone else's disabilities in a derogatory way around your son.
All that being said, do positive things around your son to show that you are a fit healthy mom and that you are eating healthy. Discuss healthy foods with him while you are making lunch or dinner. Get outside now that it's BEAUTIFUL out! Chase him around the park; bring a jumprope with you to the playground, you can jump while he plays on the equipment. While you want to teach him good manners and the right way to handle the differences he observes, there's no reason you can't use this as a kick-start for your own health and weight loss. That is what I am trying to do. I think I am loving this weather as much as my 6yo daughter is :)
B.H. answers from Los Angeles on April 11, 2010
Family Success Coach
L.D. answers from Albany on April 12, 2010
I completely agree with Kristin. It is rude of your partner to be saying these things to your child and it is definitely a lesson in politeness for your child. On the other hand, being over weight is being over weight and no matter how rude it is, if you need to get healthy again, that's what you need to do. Because of depression my husband and I have both put a good bit of weight on in the past few years. I have a good 50 lbs to lose so trust me, this is not coming from someone stick thin who doesn't have to worry about her weight. I will say that whether our children see us as healthy is a concern of ours though. That, and kids can be rude. I'll tell you, that is a big concern for my husband and me and something that absolutely makes us want to lose the weight...we don't want to be an embarrassment to our children (or ourselves) because we are over weight. Think about it, we can explain to our children all we want that everybody is beautiful and all the other PC things we want to teach them but does that make it okay to be an unhealthy weight? What are we teaching them about how to care for their bodies and how is that going to affect them as they get older. I can tell you, weight is becoming a bit of an issue for my oldest son and I don't get it because while he has his moments where he can eat, he is my best water drinker and eats the least amount of snacks. By getting ourselves to a healthy weight again, I know we are going to help him too though because I would feel awful if he had this problem as an adult because of us.
K.C. answers from Philadelphia on April 12, 2010
My son once told me when he was quite young "I wish you were thinner like the other moms". He didn't call me fat, but I was fat, so he was just stating his opinion. It was the kick in the pants I needed to start getting healthy. If you are overweight and your son said you're "fat", he's probably not trying to insult you, he's just stating a fact. The word "fat" is a lot easier to say for a 4yr old than "overweight" or whatever the other PC terms are. Certainly use this as a lesson in manners...calling people "fat" IS rude, so is calling people "retarded" or a "dwarf". In fact, in our culture, it's rude to call anybody anything that's not positive, even if it's true and staring us in the face. So, definitely teach your son the correct manners. However, I also think it's how you react to your son's statement that's telling. You want to give your son the idea that there's nothing wrong with being a bit overweight as long as you're still healthy (and BTW, being healthy and being thin are two completely different things). I think if you react with hurt feelings, you're giving your son the impression that you're ashamed of how you look. Instead, use this as a teaching lesson on good health and habits for your son, it's never too early to start. "Shall we go to the park and run around a bit and get ourselves healthy?" "Instead of eating that cookie, let's cut up a juicy, crunchy apple instead." Then let him see you being more active and eating right. So right here are two extremely good lessons you can teach your son 1) good manners, which will help him socially for the rest of his life and 2) good health habits which will give him a good long life in which to display his good manners!