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A Mom's Bold Response to "Mom, I'm Fat"

A Mom's Bold Response to "Mom, I'm Fat"

A Mom's Bold Response to "Mom, I'm Fat"

"Mom, I'm fat," Rachel Simmons' seven-year-old daughter told her while looking in the bathroom mirror and poking at her stomach. As a mom, she was at a loss for words. Simmons is a motivational speaker who teaches empowerment programs for girls, but found herself in the same shoes as many parents who have children with body woes.

Simmons shares on her blog how she tried to explain to her daughter that she is beautiful and that her body will grow and change, but that her daughter's opinion remained the same. Finally, Simmons took off her own clothes so that they were both naked, and talked about women's empowerment while she sang songs. Her daughter's mood lifted, and though Simmons doesn't know if her mind changed, she was given a reminder as a parent: "I must continue to infuse myself and my children with bold confidence. I must check in, ask questions, take the time. I must build and undo. I must be open and genuine."

Read the whole story (Rachel Simmons Leadership for Life) >>

What messages have you shared with your daughter about body image?

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TracyStorey83904 TracyStorey83904 4 years
I think she handled it well, but is the kid overweight or not? If not, then we need to discuss how she is beautiful just the way she is, and the magazines etc. expect women to be too thin. A huge percentage of our children are actually overweight, though. If that is the case, I think I'd have to handle it differently. Tell her I have gained a few more pounds than I like, too. Now that Christmas is over, let's make a New Year's resolution to ride our bikes after school and cut back on our desserts and snacks. I think we will both feel healthier if we do that.
LindaBowlesDaSilva LindaBowlesDaSilva 4 years
To Heather I think that by saying things like "Are you sure you want to eat that cookie?" you are reinforcing that you think they are overweight. Try to make it more about health and feeling good. It also helps to not have the junk food at home. Young people learn by modeling. Perhaps examine your own eating habit and talk about why you want to make a change, i.e. long term health benefits, more energy, to manage stress, etc.. Start going for walks yourself (with a dog if you have one) and when they see how good you are feeling about it they may want to join you. Also enrolling them in some sports activities or dance classes is a fun way to exercise or, buy used bikes for the family and make it a family event. Best to start all of this when kids are young of course but you know what they say, it is never to late to start good habits. Best of luck to you
ellenbriggs78978 ellenbriggs78978 4 years
This is a not unusual and is sad. It would really help if our homes did not have magazines and visuals from computers etc that show thin sexy women - poor role models. Also, be careful about what your children are watching on TV, and what you are as well. They see through your eyes. So many media messages are unhealthy.
SueCoyle44582 SueCoyle44582 4 years
Mary is right. It's up to the parents to make sure their kids are eating healthy and not have a weight problem. As a few woman said..make it fun for them to learn to be healthy. I have a 12 yr old granddaughter that is really getting chunky, but so is her mother. She keeps telling her she's beautiful. Yes, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but there are some medical problems in their family that weight can cause a real problem. Their eating habits are horrible! Alot of boxed food, junk food, pizza, sweets, you name it! It really gets to me. Their family all has a weight problem and they keep telling her it's okay. It's not ok! She will pay medically in the future as her mother has. So please Moms, teach your kids how to be healthy and eat right. Splurging once in a awhile is okay, for the most part, eat good food.
PatriciaRechPers PatriciaRechPers 4 years
I can totally relate. My daughter is 7 and has recently been saying she thinks she's fat. I went through this at the age of 9---my peers were of no help; I was told I was fat my whole life. I will be damned if I will allow my daughter to feel the way I did growing up. She is healthy and strong, very active and like me, fond of the carb. Her weight is fine for her age and height, we just have to be careful because she would rather eat junk than fruit and veggies. That aside, I always tell her she is strong and beautiful inside and out and never to put herself down because it simply isn't true. She is feeling confident and holds her head up high. I am proud of her and will never tire of telling her so.
KathleenBietlerTeets KathleenBietlerTeets 4 years
My daughter was told by the girl across the street that she has a big butt, which she doesn't. Of course she was in tears. I asked my daughter what she thought & she said she that she didn't think so. I've always tried to reinforce what my daughter can do on a positive note to promote a healthy lifestyle. Children don't understand that as they grow, their body puts on weight first, then a growth spurt follows. They are so influenced by the media and often take whatever the media says as the gospel on how they themselves should look. I take those opportunities to point out the negative behaviors that young actors/singers have and ask her if she would behave in that manner. If a child is active and eats healthy and is still overweight, then a well-check at the doctor's office may be in order.
HeatherEmerson HeatherEmerson 4 years
Children can be overweight for a variety of reasons - sure overeating and lack of exercise top the list, and medical conditions and medications, as well as genetics - although some disagree. Yes, children of overweight parents but today's definitions still demons have a greater tendency to be heavy - but genetics DOES play a role. Different bodies are built and work differently. The perfect weight and shape portrayed as desirable by the media is something that is largely a result of genetics (how many of us are 5'10" or taller and stick thin - that is largely the way your body is built - or not) Things get even trickier with teens, though. As the mother of twin girls who are heavy, I walk a fine line between maintaining that they are beautiful and worthy people, yet their anger at their weight makes me tell them things they could do to change that weight, and nothing I do is going to change that. I am willing to work with them, but I can't make their choices for the at almost 16 years of age. Having watched one of their friends struggle with almost fatal anorexia, I'm terrified of my daughters going overboard if I make it a power issue. ANy thoughts? The second I mention not eating that cookie or taking a walk they start crying and say I'm saying they are fat.
LeslieEnder LeslieEnder 4 years
You did make an impact! Kids often do this because they want to hear us tell all the good and great things about them. She really needed to hear it from you!
SaraAguilar SaraAguilar 4 years
Omg Tessa, I don't even know what to say. I'm so sorry :(
SaraAguilar SaraAguilar 4 years
I don't think it was weird at all that mom got naked. I think it was very courageous in fact. She made herself as vulnerable as her daughter felt and showed her what a real woman's body looked like. More than likely, the only other woman bodies she has seen are from the media. I read somewhere that a mother always made it a point to mention how much she loves her body. A girls most influential role model is her mother so I think this is so important. I just hope I can think quick and do/say sometng meaningful when my daughter first talks about body image
JenniferMcLean55373 JenniferMcLean55373 4 years
I am somewhat offended by Elizabeth's comment that she would NEVER let her child get like daughter went from being a tiny stick of a thing who was totally underweight to being quite heavy in a matter of a couple years. This did not happen by choice. It happened because of medical issues. We did not allow her to get heavy -it was completely out of our one wants their child to be heavy. Perhaps your choice of wording should be given more thought.
JessicaMendez JessicaMendez 4 years
@Sarah M: The mom did it to show the body completely exposed, to see and accept the body w/ a it's flaws. Clothing can hide most imperfections if the body. Going through the same w/ my son. He's on meds which have caused him to gain weight. My mom keeps critizing his weight by telling him he needs to lose weight. I hate it because how do you explain to a child medicine is making you gain weight?
JenD37146 JenD37146 4 years
Sarah - Yes, I thought it was a little weird too! And I'm not sure how Mom stripping down will help a girls' body image? Anyway, I just want to say that everyone is different. What Krystina says about "even 5 extra pounds..." is exactly what causes this kind of problem. Some kids are built very skinny, naturally. Others are built a little bit thicker. I have a son who is underweight and only recently stopped being tube fed. He does not have an ounce of fat on him ANYWHERE. But his BMi and his waist measurement were both higher than his pediatrician expected. Not because he's overweight - if he lost any weight at all he'd be in the hospital. Just because that's his build. In addition, many kids bulk up a little before a growth spurt. That's not a cause for panic, it's normal. We should all concentrate more on eating healthy foods in reasonable portions and having a healthy, active lifestyle. That's what's really important, not the number on the scale.
KrystinaClary KrystinaClary 4 years
there is a tremendous amount of research the suggests if mom is overweight then her kids are 200% more likely to be overweight as well. fathers weight has no bearing on . child weight outcome. even 5 extra pounds can really affect . child's health in the long run so it is important for mother to be aware of the impact their weight will have on their children. the important thing to remember is that fat is not genetic. it is eating too much with too little excessive (baring any medical condition like thyroid disease. so moms.....please take care o yourselfs and Don think I I ok to be fat.
libertymom libertymom 4 years
My son is 6 and has gotten very chunky in the last year but we also realized that we were giving in to him having lots of sweets because I was pregnant and too tired to argue. And his grandparents indulge him with a lot of sweets as well. We've all cut back the junk food and he begged to take ballet and he is the only boy in the class which he loves. But it is a lot of activity so hopefully it will help him slim down a little bit. He is very very tall for his age and now he is very thick for his age. We try not to criticize though but influence him to make healthy food choices. On a final note, I've read all the comments and does no one else think its weird and inappropriate that this mother got naked with her daughter? Um, ew.
allisonforresterkosters allisonforresterkosters 4 years
My daughter who is now 12, was always very thin. She started to get a small tummy. She complained that she thought she was fat. I told her that she was not fat, she was about to have her growth spurt and that she and I were both probably out of shape. We started with the dance revolution game for the wii. It was both bonding and helped us get in better shape together. She grew about 4 inches this past year (7th) grade and no more tummy. She now jokes that her tummy moves up to her chest. So I took what could have been a bad moment and turned it into a bonding fun exercise moment for both of us. I taught her it is not about weight but fitness.
SuzanneCollyer SuzanneCollyer 4 years
My 7 year old is very active with swimming and running. While she hasn't brought up any body image issues as yet, I am hoping that by keeping her active, being active myself and exercising as a family we will keep that at bay. We also talk quite a bit about healthy food choices and how that helps your body grow the way it should. I hope that this foundation along with a lot of positive reinforcement of how much she is loved and valued will help along the way.
CarrieRobinson42832 CarrieRobinson42832 4 years
When my oldest was younger she was a bigger kid. I did everything I could to build her self confidence as she was growing up. But the main thing I always told her was that people come in different sizes and there is nothing wrong with that. She did sports joined clubs and made lots of friends. When she became a teenager she felt uncomfortable with her weight, I asked her when she brought it up to me, what would you like to do about it? She decided to make better food choices and exercise more. I didn't ever tell her she was over weight because I really felt she wasn't. It was how she felt that mattered to me and I was willing to help her. I do think self confidence is the key.
ElizabethGraham28506 ElizabethGraham28506 4 years
My 5 year old swears she is fat..she wouldn't even wear a puffy jacket, because she says it makes her look fat. She is not fat by no means, but she is thicker built than my 7 year old who is so skinny you could put your hand around her legs and arms...she is tiny like I was when I was a kid, we are just skinny people. So, I went to and searched under images for fat kids and showed my 5 year old what fat kids really look like. I explained to her I would NEVER let her get that way and to stop hating puffy jackets, because they do not make her look fat. She is now cured. :)
KatiGoth KatiGoth 4 years
I have a couple of things to say. First of all I think the comment about what is pretty and sexy is asinine. Boobs sag with age and not everyone with cellulite is unhealthy. Clearly that person has body hangups that cause her to be ridiculously judgmental. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and not everyone thinks that super slim is what is attractive. That being said, I do want to instill healthfulness in my children, especially my daughter. She has grown a little chunky over the past year it so (she is 7 & 1/2). She likes to eat. I provide a lot of healthy choices, but she does over eat. What do you say to this question when she does need to cut back a little? NY parents were obsessed with my weight which caused me a lot if emotional trauma. I want to provide the best ans most healthy response to this question and to her choices.
RobinandMikeStPierre RobinandMikeStPierre 4 years
If she is heavy kids may be making fun of her. Her statement is a cry for help. If she is thin but thinks she's fat explain that the models in magazines are touched up with computers.
Tessa43589 Tessa43589 4 years
That's an easy one for me, you see I became a bulimic at 9 years old, I didn't even know what bulimia was, I just knew that if I ate lots I'd make myself sick. My diagnosis is actually bulimia with anorexic tendencies, I would go days eating an apple then binge and purge. I haven't been active in over 15 years but the damage is done. I'm 39 and terminally ill. My organs are failing and there is nothing anyone can do. I lost a lot of teeth because of the bulimia, and a lot of hair. My hair is now so fine you can see my scalp through it. I have 2 daughters, 13 and 9 I've told them all about my eating disorder, but I tell them the truth, how even years later you WILL die from an eating disorder, both girls have a 50% higher risk of having an eating disorder, because of me. My children will grow up without a mother, because of me. If health authorities told the truth about eating disorders, numbers would fall, purely because anorexia and bulimia WON'T make you skinny, it won't make your life happy. You will end up like me, in pain 24/7, dying hurts, organ failure hurts, losing your teeth hurts, and losing your hair hurts. My body is failing, and it hurts all because I thought my life would be perfect if I was skinny. Boy was I wrong.
DanicaSurette DanicaSurette 4 years
My daughter has Tourette syndrome OCD and ADD. Last year she told us that her brain was telling her to stop eating. She went 3 days with very little to eat. My husband and I took her to our local mental health community where she spoke with a pshychiatrist. The doctor explained why feeding your brain was so vitally important, which helped. I can't imagine anyone actually telling a child to lose weight.
MaryKalwite MaryKalwite 4 years
Fat parents tend to have heavier kids and heavier pets (if they own them). If your young child is complaining or commenting about being fat or overweight and they are indeed chunky and telling them they are fine the way they are is setting them up for future failure. They will see being fat or chunky as okay. It is not okay. Being fat is not beautiful, no matter how you sugar coat it. There is nothing sexy about cottage cheese thighs, butt , and a saggy belly and boobs. This is not what I want for my girls and this is what I don't want for me either.. anymore. As parents, we need to be fostering healthy eating habits. If your young kid is fat.. it is YOUR fault. You are the one providing the food and example. Get rid of the processed foods, wheat based snacks, and heavy carb meals. Limit TV time and video game times. If you have games systems that have fitness type games... play as a family. My girls love "Just Dance for Kids" Teaching a child personal responsibility goes hand in hand with self esteem. As parents, we need to get off our lazy butts and empty out our pantries and be examples for our kids.
JenniferMacKenzie JenniferMacKenzie 4 years
My husband tells our 8 year old that she needs to go on a diet. Let me tell you, this is grounds for divorce. Until..... I was in the car with my daughter, we were driving to go shopping and she told me that when dad tells her to stop eating and to not eat this, not eat that, or go on a diet, she actually eats more! My heart sank. Until she said that she doesn't care about what he thinks, or what others think. She likes who she is and is happy with the way she looks. I was so proud of her! I am overweight and she asked me if dad ever tells me that I am fat and need to go on a diet. I honestly told her No, he doesn't. She asked what the difference was. I told her that I didn't know. I told my husband this and he instantly shut up. I am so proud of my girl!
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