When one mother's child called her "fat," she responded with the perfect explanation of what that word really means, and we're loving how she handled the situation.
Mother of two and self-help speaker Allison Kimmey was at the pool with her daughter when the young girl commented on her weight. So the two sat down for a serious chat in which Allison explained, "The truth is, I am not fat. No one IS fat. It's not something you can BE. But I do HAVE fat. We ALL have fat. It protects our muscles and our bones and keeps our bodies going by providing us energy."
She then turned to her daughter and asked, "Do you have fat?" to which the girl admitted to having some on her tummy. And that's when Allison's son chimed in to the discussion, saying, "I don't have any fat, I'm the skinniest, I just have muscles." The mama was quick to correct him, explaining how everyone has fat, just differing amounts that have no effect on their self-worth. "Some people have a lot, and others don't have very much. But that doesn't mean that one person is better than the other," she said.
Allison went on to describe why it's so important for all parents to nurture body-positive values in their households while their children are still young and impressionable.
Fat is not a bad word in our house. If I shame my children for saying it then I am proving that it is an insulting word and I continue the stigma that being fat is unworthy, gross, comical, and undesirable. Since we don't call people fat as an insult in my household, I have to assume she internalized this idea from somewhere or someone else. Our children are fed ideas from every angle, you have to understand that that WILL happen: at a friend's house whose parents have different values, watching a TV show or movie, overhearing someone at school — ideas about body image are already filtering through their minds. It is our job to continue to be the loudest, most accepting, positive, and CONSISTENT voice they hear.
If you've ever struggled with knowing how to breach this touchy subject with your kids, take cues from Allison and try offering up a similar explanation. Keep preaching, mama!