Parents, stop weight bullying your kid and your kid’s friends!
It’s a sad truth that we have actual data showing parents are so stuck in diet culture they weight-bully their own kids and even their kid’s friends.
You’re crossing an inappropriate boundary when you judge and comment on a child’s body.
Do better! Now!
Here’s my logic thread:
- If you bully, your kid will bully.
- If you are bullying, do a U-turn. You are bullying yourself.
- If you bully, you are stuck in diet culture and its toxic harms.
- All of it trickles to your kid.
You are living a limited life and you’re putting cinder blocks on your kid’s potential growth as a human being and chance at happiness.
How in the world with everything our children and teens are facing, a literal mental health crisis during an ongoing COVID pandemic, would anyone not evolve quickly as a parent and do better?
The only explanation is that parents, us Gen X parents, are very stuck in diet culture. A pursuit of thinness is a pursuit of thin privilege. Discuss. Stay tuned for more to come on this topic.
Parents, us Gen X parents, are very stuck in diet culture. A pursuit of thinness is a pursuit of thin privilege.
I usually include myself in my blogs when I talk about parents, but I refuse to sacrifice my integrity and come off as relatable and lump myself in with parents who weight bully their kids and their kid’s friends.
When I started TikTok over a year ago, I was shocked at the number of videos of body positive creators getting cyber-bullied based on their body size. Absolutely horrible! So, I started making videos talking about how you know nothing about anyone else’s health based on their body size. Health and weight are not directly correlated and health information is private and protected. So, that was that. And, the cyber-bullying continues in full force.
I started making videos talking about how you know nothing about anyone else's health based on their body size. The cyberbullying continues. #children #teenagers #parents Click To Tweet
Then, shockingly, I started noticing videos made by young adults whose parents weight bully.. Totally disgusting and abusive! So, I made duets and called it out on my go-to platform, TikTok.
Okay then, what will I discover next after putting on my scuba gear and diving into the clock app?
I won’t change the world. I’m here to learn and not to fix or solve.
Listen. Listen. Listen.
Just the other day, I ran across a video while scrolling, where @powerlove2855, who I follow and you should too, talked about when she was little, her friend’s mom weight-bullied her.
Of course, I did a duet video with @powerlove2285 on TikTok:
My text at the top:
Studies show young children experience weight-based victimization from parents, friends, peers, doctors, and teachers.
- “On more than one occasion in elementary school I would have a friend tell me that her Mom said I was fat and I needed to lose weight. That Mom was secretly hoping that that little girl would stop being my friend. Because she wanted her little girl to have the social capital of being friends with all the pretty, tiny, little Limited 2 girls back in my time.”
- “It is so absolutely petty. The part of this conversation of growing up fat that we don’t talk about enough is that adults that are not your family, not your parents consistently comment on your body. Friends of parents, teachers, lunch ladies, school librarians, neighbors, unhinged women at the grocery store who tell your Mom to stop feeding you.”
- “The absolutely disgusting commentary around a child’s body must end. Must end.”
The comments on my video are rolling in and it’s not looking good, folks!
Grandparents weight-bully, parents, friends’ parents, teachers, doctors, neighbors.
The absolutely disgusting commentary around a child's body must end. Must end. The comments on my video are rolling in and it's not looking good, folks! Click To Tweet
It’s a toxic entitlement to comment on children’s bodies.
As a pediatrician and mandatory reporter, these comments strike me as inappropriate on the level of verbal and emotional abuse.
Let’s disrupt the toxicity by calling it out!
Research and studies have been out for quite a while on parental perceptions of weight-based victimization, its harms for their children and listing weight bullying as the number one health concern for parents of teens with overweight.
It’s unfortunately not a surprise that children in larger bodies are ostracized and their weight is weaponized as a weakness, just as they are growing and developing.
Parents, we can help our children and teens create bully bans or boundary setting statements, but, if you are a weight bully yourself stuck in diet culture and your internalized biases, you’ve got some work to do.
Commit today to not bully your child or teen.
It's a toxic entitlement to comment on children's bodies. As a pediatrician and mandatory reporter, these comments strike me as inappropriate on the level of verbal and emotional abuse. Click To Tweet
What are your future parent guide words?
Envision yourself showing up as the kind of parent you want to be. Nobody’s watching but you, and your kid. If you are a parent who is a weight bully, you’re most likely weight bullying yourself and it’s not a simple flip of a switch to cancel diet culture. Your children and teens are worth the work you have to do to do better.
It’s Mental Health Awareness Month. Teens are in a Mental Health Crisis as another wave of COVID hits. We simply don’t have time or tolerance for adults who bully children.
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Dr. Karla, ActivistMD