Is It Ever Okay to Put a Kid on a Diet for Vanity’s Sake?

Posted on Nov 6, 2012 by 1 Comment
Is It Ever Okay to Put a Kid on a Diet for Vanity’s Sake?

Would you put your child on a diet? Like most girls, I went on my first diet at about the same time I went through puberty. My parents didn’t put me on a diet.

Suddenly, the natural progression of evolution took over and I had curves where there were none the previous summer. My parents may have gently nudged me in the general direction with their disapproving looks if I chose carbs over broccoli but they never said, “Debi you need to go on a diet.”

My father’s exact words were, “Mija (term of endearment in Spanish), you need to run more.”

I have never forgotten that statement. It was not intentional on his part, but disapproval falls on little ears with the weight of the world. It was just enough to plant self–doubt and rattle an already shaky self-image.

This led to my first “diet” which eventually led to a raging case of body dysmorphic disorder and an 8-year battle with eating disorders.

I am now the mother of two little girls of my own. I will never put my girls on a “diet.” For me, the very idea of a “diet” is the same as saying to them “you are not good enough” and that simply, could never be the case.

I love those kids from top to bottom and I could never be the one to tell them they are anything less than perfect.

Don’t get me wrong, I am all for regulating my children’s diet and what kinds of food they are eating, but I would never say “ Hey, I am going to restrict your intake as punishment for not being good enough,” because essentially that is what going on a “diet” is.

Openly putting a kid on a diet to lose weight takes away the security net of a parent’s unconditional love and replaces it with self-doubt and insecurity. Telling your kid they need to improve in some way that is so fundamental to who they are is traumatic. I know this from personal experience.

I do not believe that children should ever be put on a diet for vanity’s sake. I understand restricted diets for medical reasons; diabetes, allergies, etc. but just because a child gains a small amount of weight, I don’t think they should be put on a “diet.”

I think that it is our responsibility, as parents, to make sure that our children get high nutrition quality, healthy meals and live an active lifestyle. We are the examples. We are the caregivers.

I’d love for my girls to never worry about their weight or care what the number on the scale reads. I feed them a balanced diet and keep them active with play and dance. I don’t want them to know or care what they weigh.

I just want them to be children who turn into women with kick ass self-esteem. If that means weighing them backwards on the scale and never using the word “diet” in our house, that is fine with me.

How do you keep your children healthy?

Photo Source: ChristieNielsen

Posted in: Parenting
Deborah Cruz

Deborah Cruz, aka Truthful Mommy, is the creator of the magic that is The TRUTH about Motherhood. She is a wife, a writer, fashionista, and semi-crunchy, work-at-home Ninja Mommy living in the Midwest with her two beautiful girls and her husband. Waiting on her children in pick up lines, she can likely be found chirping on Twitter and engaging on Facebook

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  • Emily (CityBaby Living)

    Amen! Girls/women get enough messages about how they should look from the general society without parents adding to it. Parents should be the safe ones to talk with about such pressures, not the people adding to it. Our job is to help make them feel amazing about themselves. Nutrition and excercise are gifts we can give to help that.