Larger Size Tween Girl

Updated on June 28, 2010
L.H. asks from Clermont, FL
27 answers

Hi everyone. I have a 9 year old daughter who is a little overwieght for her age. She is tall for her age and has a large frame. She constantly gets upset over her weight and compares herself to the "smaller/thinner" girls at school. She is also picked on at school by the same 3 or 4 kids because of it. We have told her that her body is going through some changes and that she also must make healthy eating choices and try to set a good example. It is also hard to find her clothing that is approriate for her age since she has outgrown the kids section at most stores. We have tried to find a kids gym with fun classes but there aren't any. She is active, plays soccer and has limited t.v. time. Any help or suggestions would really be appreciated.Thanks!!

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P.E.

answers from Panama City on

go on a diet toghther . weigh same time every day and track prgress, Winn gets a prise like a movie

Born diabetic, I would watch weight over weight = diabetese.

ps Tall girls need to stand up strtaight to show off their height I'm only 5'11"

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A.T.

answers from Tallahassee on

Try Titus--it's a gym specifically for kids. Also, you may want to find something fun and athletic like competitive cheerleading--the girls love it and it's an awesome work-out!

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L.B.

answers from Jacksonville on

Hi L.,

Reading your entry I realized I could have written it myself. I, too, have a 9-year-old who is slightly over-weight. Like you, we are stressing health and fitness over diet and exercise. We've joined the YMCA and committed as a family to go on a regular basis. Unfortunately, there aren't any classes for this age group so my husband is creating a work out program for her that incorporates different activities each session so she doesn't get bored. We also got a dog recently that requires a lot of exercise so we take our daughter with us when we walk/run with the dog. I've toyed with the idea of opening a tween-oriented gym but don't have all the requisite skills. I do know there is a gap in the market that desperately needs filling. If we can develop healthy habits now, our kids will be less likely to struggle with weight over their lifetime.

As for clothes, we find that the plus sizes at Limited, Too, JC Penney's and now even Target provide stylish fits that aren't too expensive. (We shop Ltd. Too during sales and with coupons.) I'm teaching her how to dress in a way that plays up her positive features and to avoid things that are too tight or too loose.

Keep up the positive reinforcement, and remember to practice what you preach. What we do as moms is more important than what we say!

LB

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E.T.

answers from Seattle on

I taught my daughter that you can like you for who you are and you don't have to listen to anybody
But if this doesn't work she should try to stay around a group of friends, that way she would probably feel stronger and not get as intimidated

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D.J.

answers from Daytona Beach on

I completely understand your daughter. I too was over weight in elementary school. Kids where cruel to me then, as I am sure they are to your daughter. Keep remindering her often how beautiful she really is and help her with making better snack food choices and exersice everyday with her (take a walk after work). Eventually the weight will come off. You seem to be communicating very well with her about her body changes. Right now I am sure she needs your time, attention and friendship more than ever to help her through this. You might consider talking to her teacher if these certain 3 or 4 kids keep up harrassing your daughter. Just imagine if you had to go to work every day at a place where you where harrassed everyday that would be extreamly stressful exspeciallly on a child. Keep up the good work and I wish your daughter the best!

D. J- Fulltime working Mom, married, two boys ages 5 and 12.

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D.A.

answers from Orlando on

L.,

Why don't you and her join a yoga class together. Or take walks together after dinner. This will not only give you both time together and enhance your relationship( especially with puberty approaching). This will give you time to talk and do something good for the both of you. YMCA has yoga and there is a place off South street near Bumby Ave that does HOT yoga for ALL age groups which burns ###-###-#### Calories. I think it is called Brauma Yoga. I hope this helps. I'm planning to join the Hot yoga calss as well to loss some extra pounds I have accumilated. Plus a friend of mine teaches some of the clases. I think if you tell them this is your first class it is only $5.00. The additional classes are $15.00 each or there are package deals. I always suggest soccer as well since I run a soccer club, but you have that covered:)

Good luck. Maybe I will see you both at Hot Yoga class.

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C.G.

answers from Jacksonville on

Hi L.,
You say you tell your daughter to make healthy choices , but do you buy healthy food? Make sure you don't bring junk food into the house, as you are the one who buys the food.Buy raw fruits and vegies that you both like.Get your daughter to help you wash them and package them. When she needs a snack she can just go to the frig and grab something.
Maybe you and your daughter could go for a walk after your evening meal. That would be exercize for you both and you could have some great talks.

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D.W.

answers from Gainesville on

Keep staying positive with her. That's going to be so important. Keep reminding her that people come in all shapes and sizes and there really is no wrong but healthy is what's important! What about taking some exercises classes with her. The YMCA is very family oriented and usually has lots of kids activities. Don't completely ban the kiddie (what I call junk snacks) because she'll just want them all the more. Make sure her meals are healthy ones but not bland. Now is the time for her to form a good relationship with her body, exercise, and food habits. We are going thru the same thing with a niece and she hasn't been getting this advice (her food choices are being limited, not getting the right message about her body) and now she's hiding food, eats way too much when she thinks no one is looking. It's very scary! Keep up the positive reinforcement! And remind her there are stinky people everywhere in life and she needs to focus on the positive, fun, good people around her!

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S.A.

answers from Tallahassee on

I know how it feels to be her. I was the same way. By the time I was 12 I got into cheerleading and lost the weight. I think I was 124 at the age of 11 (but I was SHORT). I ended up staying at that weight until I was 18. I just grew into myself. She will too, but making the right healthy choices is key as the other ladies have mentioned.

I cut out all my favorite swiss cake rolls, and other high sugary foods. Choose water over soda/gatorade. Even if its low in sugar you need to check the sodium!!! Too much salts can also be bad. So watch the salt/sugar intake. If she likes sweets, try baby carrots, those are sweet! Eat lots of golden apples dipped in peanut butter and just lots of fruit and veggies (no ranch dressing though). Get her metabolism up and keep it there. She may need some vitamins or primrose. Those really helped. With her being this size she may start her menstrual cycle early as well. Be on the look out, mom!
Best of luck.

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H.F.

answers from Orlando on

The BEST thing you can do for your daughter is show her how much you accept your own body, how you eat well, and how you exercise. She will emulate what you say about yourself and what you do for yourself. And it never hurts to repetively say how beautiful she is. Pick out specific things about her looks that are beautiful. Her eyes, her hands, her strong legs, and have her repeat these things about herself. Outer dialogue can help change the inner dialogue.
She sounds like a wonderful girl! Enjoy!
H.

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M.H.

answers from Fort Walton Beach on

Hi L.,

I went through the same thing with my daughter and she has survived it, lol! Sometimes higher priced clothing will have sizes for the needs you have. In order for us to get that, we shopped regularly at thrift stores in the "nicer" neighborhoods.

Also, there are seamstresses that still exist. I know it's somewhat unheard of now, but call your local dry cleaner and see if they can recommend someone.

As my dear Mama always told me, "This too shall pass." Tell your sweet little girl that weight is much easier to get rid of than a bully's attitude! :) She's already a step ahead of these kids!

M.

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S.S.

answers from Tallahassee on

Hi L., I am a grandmother now but can identify with your daughter as I was overweight most of my elementary school years. I also endured teasing by other students. It seems the thing that helped me the most was constant encouragment from my parents and grandparents. My dad continually told me that I was beautiful (as most dads would) and that the Lord made me like I was and that I was to be thankful for good health. Once I hit junior high I thinned out but have never been really thin. My granddaughter who is 11 has the same problem. She is very active and my daughter-in-law gives her only the foods that are healthful and really limits her sweets. I don't know if this helps but just thought I should share with you. Continue to give lots of love and encouragment and have your husband do the same when he is at home. It means a lot to a daughter to hear praise from her father.

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J.C.

answers from Fort Walton Beach on

L.,

I personally know of kids that have taken a drink called Bios Life Complete. One specifically was pre-diabetic and needed a natural and safe solution. He had great success, not overnight, but is now active and healthy.

I also know of another teen boy who's fat loss has not only improved his health, but also his self-esteem. However, his parents chose a new product called Bios Life Slim. I not only market Bios Life, but also take it. My company markets Bios Life Slim for adults, however, Bios Life Slim is all natural with no synthetic or herbal stimulants. Bios Life Slim contains all of the ingredients of Bios Life Complete (see www.BiosLife.com) with an added proprietary blend that focuses on leptin (see www.hungerhormones.com). The ingredients are plant-based and the taste is like an orange creamsicle. As the parent you can decide if Slim is right for you and your tween.

For more info contact me
J. Craig
###-###-####
[email protected]____.com

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B.H.

answers from Los Angeles on

L.,
I am a family Health and Wellness Coach with Isagenix International. Basically I help families deal with their family weight issues, parents and kids. We have a program designed especially for kids like your daughter.

Society is hard on people who are overweight. They always have been and they always will be. Whether you like it or not. Kids are the worst. So maybe it is time to stop making excuses for her and start making htings right. Sure she could possibly grow out of it, but that could take until she is 19. And what is she doesn't? What if because of her habits and choices now she becomes one of those statistics in North America, you know the one, "over 65% of Americans are obese".

I have a HUGE success rate with kids and "waist management". I work with families to introduce the right nutrition to their diets and how to be lean and clean for life. This is an all natural, organic process. I only use the highest of standard products and I NEVER recomend anything that my own chidren are not eating. (I have two girls 12 and 8).

My consultations are always free. If you are serious about making a difference in your daughter's life, if you are ready to put the time and energy into her health as you are "finding the right activity" for her, then please give me a call.

FYI - The cost of my program for kids is actaully cheaper than most teams, clubs or classes. And this program offers your child a chance at life long healthy living, not just a spot on a team.

Call me when you are ready,

B. H. B.A.; B.Ed.
Family Health and Wellness Coach
###-###-#### (Eastern)

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J.S.

answers from Orlando on

Have you checked her thyroid or blood sugar level with the doctor to rule out a medical explanation for her weight despite her high level of physical activity? I am hypo thyroid and didn't know that for many years until my thyroid crashed as an adult. Hashimoto's is not uncommon for children and I know some other than me that have been diagnosed with it. It's an autoimmune disorder. Nothing too scary though, we just need to take senthroid, levothyroxine or armoroul to help our thyroid levels stay normal. That would be where I would start.

If this runs in the family that could be another explanation, some people are predisposed to being more overweight than others due to their genes.

I know my oldest daughter who is 15 now started to gain weight when she hit puberty and she was a late bloomer, and children's hormones can start to adjust earlier. When she started to gain the weight she continued with her eating habits of when she was skinny and we warned her. She did not listen, and now she has had to make a lot of adjustments. She drinks water constantly. She and I cut out soda from our diets. She cut down on pizza and other fatty foods. Basically I sat my children down and explained they are at higher risk for being overweight because of me and they need to take care of their bodies and make the right choices on excercise, education, food, and sleep to help them to develop normally and in good health.

My daughter's both are in competition now to do excercise, they do sit ups and push ups at night and every day. we're from Texas and the PE cirriculum is a lot more strict with students. Students in middle and high school run MILES every day. Here their classmates groan if they have to walk only one mile! My kids are shocked at this because they had to run 5 miles a day and it's very competitive in Texas with sports unlike what they've seen here at school. There is no goofing around in Texas. If you throw up while you are running, you throw up to the side and keep going. The coaches run it military style. Also in class the teachers are very lenient here compared to the schools that my kids come from. There is no goofing off or mouthing off or fooling around. I guess because of where we're from my kids have become competitive about losing weight.

Does your daughter have a partner to help her keep a food journal and excercise program? Having someone to help keep you motivated is good. If you want to message me, I can give you my daughter's emails so they can be penpals and help keep each other motivated!

Hope it helps in some way and that things work out for your daughter. I bet she's a sweetie and certainly doesn't deserve to be teased no matter what!

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A.C.

answers from Jacksonville on

L.,
I'm a mother of a 3yr old daughter and a 1 year old son. I've been a stay at home mother for the last year. I have been a personal trainer for 16 years and my best advice to you is be very careful with this subject. Her body is changing and that's a great response to her when she brings it up. Is she a picky eater? Try to stay away from fast food, pasta's, breads, etc. Give her only healthy choices for snacks....fruits and veges. Make sure she gets a good breakfast. Eggs are proven to help children focus during school. Not to mention is a good food choice versus cereal.
Keeping her active is extremely important. Soccer is GREAT...she needs activity everyday for at least 30 minutes. You could take her for a bike ride right after dinner. You need to be a good role model. Never mention the word diet, only food choices. If you have a poor body image she will certainly pick up on it and will also have a poor body image.
On a personal level my husband works out of town Mon-Fri and I know it's not easy doing it all! I truly respect you and I know you love your daughter very much or you wouldn't be asking for advice. I have no doubt that you are tired at the end of the day and the thought of a 30 minute bike ride may take away from getting the laundry done, cleaning up the dinner dishes, etc. I promise you the bike ride is far more important than anything else you have going on in the evenings.
Good luck! Please contact me if you have any questions or need more advice.
Sincerely,
A. C

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T.A.

answers from Daytona Beach on

Without her knowing why, plan to go on a picnic say riding bikes to the park. Or walking. DOn't say why, just say let's go on an adventure. Pack a picnic and go. Make a half day of it or something like that. And eventually you two can walk or ride bikes every day before or after dinner and without her knowing and without you saying anything about it, she's slim down. But never talk about it much because that only makes it worse. You can invite one of her friends on occasion also.
GOOd luck
T.

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K.W.

answers from Orlando on

I think you are doing very good with helping her with her eating choices and trying to set a good example. The self esteem of a young girl so fragile especially when she is different
I know the YMCA is very family-friendly with many activities for kids. Also look into Marshall Arts--it great exercise and more importantly helps tremendously with self-esteem.
As far as clothes first look at your major department stores like Macys and JC Penney and also --look online. Many of the kids clothing manufacturers carry larger sizes online, Limited Too, Lands End, Gap, Old Navy, etc all have plus sizes available on their online store (and you can make returns at the regular stores.)

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F.R.

answers from Pensacola on

Definitely, as the other mom's suggested, keep telling her what you're telling her and show her love and acceptance. Being a kid is rough and kids will always find something to pick on the others about. I was teased because I was so skinny. So I did everything I could to gain weight. I would binge on anything and everything on a regular basis so that I could look like the other kids. It didn't work and it made me not like being the size I was. And I couldn't find clothes because the cheaper stores only carried sizes starting at 3. I was a 0. So it may be opposite ends of the spectrum, but it's the same basic thing. She wants to fit in. unfortunately it can lead to self-destructive behavior in order to get where she thinks she needs to be.
If you could get her into girl scouts, that may be a good option. They teach acceptance and compassion and she won't feel like an outsider. Maybe gymnastics would be fun for her. Find something she enjoys and find a way to get her involved. Show her that there is more to people than what size they are.
And luckily for you the trendy clothins for juniors is starting to look better than the past few years. No more super low rise pants and mini skirts. The shirts are cut more conservative and the shorts are longer this year. You can probably find her some really cute clothes at places like Old Navy, Ross, Goody's, Burlington Coat Factory, Target and Kmart. Don't compromise on what you feel is appropriate for her age.

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N.I.

answers from Daytona Beach on

Hi L.,
i used to be just like your daughter. I had a taller, big built body and i looked older than others. I used to use my mom's clothes sometimes, since i used to go to a private school and used uniforms. But i always felt bad and found myself different for others. But i outgrew myself and i'm still not skinny bones like other girls...which there is no way i wan't to be like that anyways. But at least i have some meat in my bones!! Ha!!! But just love your daughter, let her know she is perfect the way she is. It's not going to be easy. But if you keep being positive as well as people around her (excluding those stupid 3 or 4 kids bothering her) she will understand. Believe me i was 9 and wearing size 14. I did loose the wait when i was 16 but now in days. Just like the lady above, try to get her into sports or anything she will enjoy w/a friend or family member. Good luck! I'm sorry i can't write more...but let me know if there is anything i can do for you or your daughter.

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N.H.

answers from Tallahassee on

Hello,
I am a single mother of a thirteen year old boy who has been dealing with weight issues since he was about 10. Now at the age of 13 my son is 5'4 161 pounds. What I will say is that it sounds too me that you are doing all of the right things. When I saw my son gaining weight I immediatey changed his diet and mine too and we started doing things like walking in the evenings when he gets home from school or going to the park and walking. This also gives you some good bonding time. Your daughter is going through alot right now she is dealing with preteen issues on top of everything else. I think that you have to get her to learn to apprepriate her body the way it is. I have the same issues with my son and like I tell him people will always find something wrong with you. You could change your body structure a million times and they still would have something to say. I buy him loose fitting clothes but stylish. He wears adult men clothes but I just make sure that they are age appropriate which you can find at places like Jcpennys.You may have to look in their catalog. Unfortunately society puts so much pressure on our kids and their appearance. I assure that soon she will be going through puberty and the weight will begin to fall off. I hope that I have helped a little bit and good luck.

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F.W.

answers from Tallahassee on

This is just a suggestion, I'm not sure if they will do it but it is worth a try...See about signing you and your daughter up for Curves. It's just 30 mins about three times a week. And it's women only. I'm sure they would probly let her go as long as you are there with her. Good luck.

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M.A.

answers from Orlando on

My oldest had a similar problem. Even though Dad is out of town a lot, encourage him to give lots of praise on her positive attributes (not that she looks beautiful, but specifically her joyous smile, or twinkle in her eye) and of course simply that you both love her because she is God's special gift to you. It is hard to watch other children be cruel. Encourage the positive friendships. My daughter is 22 now and at peace with her non-runway model frame. She loves to stay active, eats right and is a well adjusted young woman. Building self confidence is the key.
Prayerfully,
M.

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A.V.

answers from Jacksonville on

you said "a little overweight". if she is tall and has a large frame then she may just not have grown into her size yet. i was the same weight between 6th grade and my jr year of college. but by the time i grew into my weight and was no longer considered fat by doctor standards i had obsorbed so much nagativity about my weight that i had tried crash diets, ground my metabolism to into the ground and becmae bulimic. it turns out i was healthy the whole time but my attitude was very unhelathy and i ended up gaining weight until i was/am too fat. obviously i'm not saying this is the path your daughter will take but she is only 9. if she is already active and you teach her to eat well then as long as her doctor doesn't say she is unhealthy leave it alone. keep an eye on it and be VERY supportive. only you know how overweight is "a little". and the advice given by the other ladies isn't bad for weight loss but she is only 9 years old. i have two wonderful amazng supportive parents. and i've been fat almost my whole life. and i remember every comment they've ever made to me about my weight. in this society she's gonna get it at school, from friends, from magazines, and from television. don't make her own home one more place for her to feel insecure.

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M.C.

answers from Jacksonville on

I understand completely what you're going through. I may step-daughter is 16 now and has been going through the same things since she was about 10. Like the other ladies have said, make sure she understands how loved she is - the self-esteem issues for young women, of all sizes, start around this time. Keep her active and engaged, not just in activities outside, but with you and your husband.

Depending on her style, you'll find great clothing at Target, Kohls, Torrid (the plus size division of Hot Topic) and Old Navy. You got a great suggestion about the seamstress - we buy things that fit her the best, and if necessary, get them altered to make sure they fit right. It costs a little more in the short run, but the boast to her self image is amazing.

Good luck!

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H.W.

answers from Jacksonville on

I, too, have a large size tween girl. She is 11. She has been a large size since birth. The only time she was "skinny" was when we first moved to GA and could go outside and play. "Big bones" runs on her father's side of the family. She has been in Girl Scouts the last four years. You may try that as well. It is a good self-esteem booster. If you have the time, maybe you could be a parent volunteer for the group. Good luck!

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C.S.

answers from Jacksonville on

Hi, L.. I'm sorry to hear about yours and your daughter's struggle. How tall is she and approximately what does she weigh?

It sounds like you keep her pretty physically active, so that's probably not the issue at hand. What types of foods is she eating (is she eating a full breakfast, lunch, dinner and snack after school)? What does she typically eat for these meals? I can provide several suggestions to aid in speeding her metabolism by eating more frequently and healthfully, but that does not address the more serious issue - her self esteem.

At 9 years old, your daughter needs to know a few things from you. Her weight/size will be noticed more by her than anyone else and those "skinny" girls who may tease her about her weight could be jealous of her academically/socially. Young girls are caddy and may tease to improve their own image, so she need not concern herself with their thoughts. I remember that far back -- even a hair out of place is the world crashing down to you, but no one else really notices. I would really try to speak with your daughter and explain that sometimes, girls are mean. It's not fair, but she needs to know that she is in control of her thoughts and feelings - not them! If you attempt to focus her thoughts to be on HER and not what others feel/think/say, she will develop a more "intrinsic" thought pattern (if you google "extrinsic or intrinsic locus of control" you may find other good suggestions). But, focusing her thoughts on how she deserves respect from everyone is a good place to begin.

If it's any consolation, I was suddenly "chubby" from about 8-10 years old. I was too always in the last row for class pictures and in the "larger" sizes. By the first year of high school, I had a very thin, feminine, yet athletic build. I developed early physically, so by the time high school hit, I wasn't in that awkward stage most other girls were in. Maybe this can give your daughter a little inspiration?

In addition, I would like to know what types of foods she's eating. That may help me better suggest how to assist in speeding her metabolism and control her sugar/carb/fat intake or modify it slightly. Keep in mind, I believe no child should ever be on a "diet," or face struggles of "diet foods." I don't believe that teaches them anything but that they're "different than the other kids," and that "calorie-free" or "low cal" is always healthy.

I'd like to just let you know that my background is in health education. I was previously a high school health teacher, a certified health educator, and worked in several various areas of health/nutrition throughout my career. I am very passionate about young females' self-esteem building in relation to foods and their bodies.

Anyway, if you could, just let me know about those questions and I can see if I can't suggest some alternative methods for you and your pride and joy!

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