Teaching Kids the Truth About Weight Stigma

I can remember like it was yesterday when one of the more popular girls in the class pinched my butt in front of several others and laughing, said, "There's a lot to pinch there!" And I know my father never meant any harm when he used to call me his "little fat buddy," but the words still cut deep. My mother was only trying to be helpful, and likely didn't know what else to do, when she signed us both up for Weight Watchers, me at the ripe age of 12. Because I was a heavier child, I'm sure she was trying to do the best she could, but it still made me feel ashamed, ugly and as if there was something wrong with my weight and appearance.

I think back to some of these moments now and KNOW they were contributing factors in some of the reasons why I struggled with my weight, my eating behaviors and my preoccupation with food and my body. That's why Weight Stigma Awareness Week is so important and this year's theme of Teaching Kids the Truth is so relevant. Children are so impressionable, and as mothers, fathers, teachers, health care providers, mentors and coaches, we have to learn how to talk to children about their bodies and their weight in a positive way.

Every year, the Binge Eating Disorder Awareness (BEDA) group hosts Weight Stigma Awareness week, and this year it is taking place on September 26th - 30th. They will be hosting several events online to support the cause.

Some of the featured events include:

  • Podcast hosted by Aaron Flores, RDN, featuring Carmen Cool, MA, LPC, and a group of teens and young adults discussing weight, health, bias and social justice

  • Clinical blog posts by Ashley Solomon, PsyD; Kathy Kater, LICSW, Jocelyn Lebow, Phd, Dr. Lauren Muhlheim PsyD, CEDS, PSY and Dr. Jennifer Copeland, PsyD

  • Personal narrative blog posts by Ragen Chastain, Kimberly Dark, Naomi Ortiz and Melissa Mazza

  • Video installment by Tammy Kremer portraying the effects of weight stigma and its impact on the BED cycle

  • Video by YouTube sensation and ED activist Matt Shepherd – stay tuned

You can find more information about these events on the BEDA website.

Help for Your Child

In addition, if you have a child struggling with body image issues, weight stigma, body shame, weight-related self-esteem issues, or obesity, and you're not sure how to talk with them about it, then you may consider seeking professional help. At Madden Wellness, I can meet with you, your child and the entire family in a safe, supportive environment to help your child understand weight stigma and find body acceptance. Please see the Child and Adolescent Problematic Eating Page for more information. Please contact me via the contact form for a Free Consultation.