My child is too big: how to react?
When we are parents of an overweight child, we never know what to say or not to say, for fear of stigmatizing it, we do not know whether to deprive the whole family or not … Can a child understand a prevention discourse? How to act on one’s eating habits? Explanations with Laurence Haurat, psychologist dietitian.

Before alerting the child, you must let him express himself … Is this child unhappy in his body? Does he refuse to go to sport, to the swimming pool? Does he see the summer coming in panicking at the idea of ​​putting on a jersey? We must not create a problem when the child does not have it because, whatever the good intentions of the parents, we will not be able to help him against his will.

In consultation, girls are brought by their mother and they do not open the mouth of the consultation because they feel completely trapped. So, if the child expresses suffering, we can offer to help him, to meet a professional, a doctor, a dietitian or psychologist, or to be supported by the REPOP network, which is multidisciplinary. We can also reassure the child that the door is open, that we are there to help him and that we will find someone good if he asks for it. It gives him both his freedom and his responsibility on his body.

My child is too big: how to react?

When we are parents of an overweight child, we do not know if we know about it, we do not know about it. Can a child understand a prevention discourse? How to act on one’s clothes? Explanations with Laurence Haurat, psychologist dietitian.

Before alerting the child, you must let him express himself … Is this child unhappy in his body? Does he refuse to go to sport, to the swimming pool? Does he see the summer coming in panicking at the idea of ​​putting on a jersey? We must not create a problem when the child does not have it because, whatever the good intentions of the parents, we will not be able to help him against his will.

In consultation, girls are brought by their mother and they do not open the mouth of the consultation because they feel completely trapped. So, if the child expresses suffering, we can offer to help him, to meet a professional, a doctor, a dietitian or psychologist, or to be supported by the REPOP network, which is multidisciplinary. We can also reassure the child that the door is open, that we are there to help him and that we will find someone good if he asks for it. It gives him both his freedom and his responsibility on his body.

The child, actor of his eating behavior?

But a child under 12 does not really have freedom. It is the parent who does the shopping, who encourages him to eat more or less, to finish his plate at all costs because we must not spoil, while also telling him that he eats too much. In this case, if a parent is worried about the weight of his child, he must first see it alone.

So is the child the only actor of his eating behavior? Not quite. The parent must be questioned to know how he sees the problem and above all, the parent must “purge”, far from the child’s ears, his disapproval or disappointment of what his child is becoming. Sometimes parents use very harsh words, very raw and do not realize how this can impact their child.

Years later, the grown-up child remembers the father who told him when he got off the train after a trip to England, “you’ve become a real whale” or after a quarter in the United States. United: “we’re going to put you on a diet” … Often, the adult has not completely solved his problems with his own body, and would like at all costs to avoid the child to be like him or as a grandfather , an obese grandmother. To avoid the risk, he wants to anticipate, to do prevention.

Can a child understand a prevention discourse?

A child can not understand a prevention speech. The child has a lot of trouble to project, in terms of health, body evolution. Tell him today that in 2, 5 or 10 years, he may be fat, it is very difficult for him to understand.

It is interesting to refer to the health book and the curve of corpulence. This helps to see if the child stays in his lane, his line, or if, at some point in his life, something has happened that has marked his growth or transformed his relationship to food. This helps to know if a child is genetically programmed to be bigger, bigger than normal. In this case, we may wonder why we absolutely want it to become thinner.

It is also interesting to see that when we talk about corpulence, we talk about “constitutional thinness”, that is to say people who are thin because they are programmed like that. But we are not talking about constitutional overweight. You can leave a person leaner than normal, but you can not support a person bigger than normal.

How to help an overweight child?

From 8 to 9 years old, children set up compensation mechanisms with food, including meals where parents are not present, such as afternoon tea. They are bored, they are stressed by school, their grades, they have problems with friends and growing up, they find it hard to find their place, they lack confidence in them … So, they eat. In this case, you have to talk to them, or get them to see someone so that they can understand why they are eating in secret and that they can evaluate what food brings them.

There is also the problem of siblings: a fat child, another of normal body size. How to restrict one without depriving the other? Or how to please one without trying the other? The initial question is whether to put a child on a diet, whether to prevent him from eating certain foods. Should we consider that giving an apple and a yoghurt to a child to taste it is a good snack? Why are diets not working sustainably in more than 95% of people who do, and how can we hope that children or teens will find more resources than adults to deprive themselves and frustrate themselves? ?

The child believes that to lose weight, it is necessary to deprive oneself but he is torn by his desire to do like the others, to eat everything he wants. We will start by showing him that all foods are good. That we will have to find a place for those who are the richest, the most fat. We will also teach him to know each other, to differentiate hunger from the desire to eat. You have to show him that he is neither his brother nor his sister and that they do not have the same needs. Or because nature has built them differently, or because every day the needs are a little different.

We must also tell him to be wary of misconceptions, often peddled by friends / girlfriends, or even parents. We must also evangelize, because parents are always very happy to rely on a third person, it is often better. But they may be surprised when they are told that nothing should be forbidden, on pain of seeing their child eat secretly and in enormous quantities, which he is no longer entitled to.

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