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Old 06-16-2008, 06:08 PM   #1  
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The other day I had a conversation with my little cousin that made me kinda sad. Lizzy is ten years old and on the bigger side, in my opinion, due to a combination of baby fat, genetics, and the tendency to emotionally eat.

Anyway, the other day I was talking to her and she told me that she was upset because no boy would ever like her because she was too fat. I guess a boy she liked at school had just started "dating" her tall and skinny best friend.

I'm not really worried about the whole middle school "relationships" but the fact that already she is putting value on looks and feeling bad about herself is a bit concerning. I see my cousins pretty often and was wondering what I can do, as someone she looks up to, in order to help her get through those awkward years we all go through and encourage her to be a strong and confident young woman?

Any advice is greatly appreciated!
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Old 06-16-2008, 06:18 PM   #2  
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i guess the only thing you can do is tell her to worry about her health, not how she looks. I was overweight from 10-15 then very thin for a few years, and realized how obsessive i had become and did a 180 the WRONG direction and gained a lot of weight...now i am concentrating on health and not on how skinny and pretty i can be. Its not always about looks, but how do you tell a pre-teen that??!
All you can do is tell her that life is not about boys and that if she thinks she needs to worry about her weight it should be so she feels better about herself and better in general, not just about what other people think.
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Old 06-16-2008, 11:43 PM   #3  
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My cousin is in a similar boat. She's 11 this year and has always been a little bit on the bigger side. She's made a few comments to me about how she's "fat" and not pretty and stuff like that. I dunno...in my opinion ten is way too young to even be thinking about dieting or weight or anything like that. She's just a kid; her body's still growing. As soon as she says something like that I just tell her she's not at all and try to slip in a few compliments here and there. I always tell her how gorgeous her hair is and how much I wish I had it. I think the key with kids is to lead by example instead of kind of singling them out. If she asks me what I do for fun I say I go running...I very rarely eat dessert and when she asks me what I've done today I tell her about how I went to the gym. When she told me she made the track and field team at school I was really enthusiastic about that.

I think the key here is to set a good example and encourage good behaviour without making reference to dieting or making her think she's different than everyone else. If she asks questions answer them. Make it more about being healthy than about losing weight. If she plays any sports tell her some good, healthy foods that might improve her energy and help her play better...It's so easy for kids to get into the wrong mindset and really hard to get them out of it.
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Old 06-16-2008, 11:59 PM   #4  
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My cousin is in a similar boat. She's 11 this year and has always been a little bit on the bigger side. She's made a few comments to me about how she's "fat" and not pretty and stuff like that. I dunno...in my opinion ten is way too young to even be thinking about dieting or weight or anything like that. She's just a kid; her body's still growing. As soon as she says something like that I just tell her she's not at all and try to slip in a few compliments here and there. I always tell her how gorgeous her hair is and how much I wish I had it. I think the key with kids is to lead by example instead of kind of singling them out. If she asks me what I do for fun I say I go running...I very rarely eat dessert and when she asks me what I've done today I tell her about how I went to the gym. When she told me she made the track and field team at school I was really enthusiastic about that.

I think the key here is to set a good example and encourage good behaviour without making reference to dieting or making her think she's different than everyone else. If she asks questions answer them. Make it more about being healthy than about losing weight. If she plays any sports tell her some good, healthy foods that might improve her energy and help her play better...It's so easy for kids to get into the wrong mindset and really hard to get them out of it.

I agree with all of this. Especially about complimenting her features. When I was that age, it helped tremendously when people would say things like, "I would KILL for your Brooke Shields eyebrows" or saying how pretty my eyes were or how good I was at basketball, etc...
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Old 06-17-2008, 06:48 AM   #5  
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I agree with what everyone else said, but maybe talk to her mom? Find a book for parents about overweight children and how to help them without hurting their self esteems forever. Encourage her to join soccer, dance, softball... anything. Show up to a few of her games and invite her over for a healthy desert afterwards.
If you do spend time with her frequently, take her on a walk or a light (very light) jog. Do things outside. Slip in healthy tips here and there to teach her, take her grocery shopping with you, and let her pick out a healthy item to be excited about.

All the little things count!
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Old 06-17-2008, 07:04 AM   #6  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by graciegoose13 View Post
The other day I had a conversation with my little cousin that made me kinda sad. Lizzy is ten years old and on the bigger side, in my opinion, due to a combination of baby fat, genetics, and the tendency to emotionally eat.

Anyway, the other day I was talking to her and she told me that she was upset because no boy would ever like her because she was too fat. I guess a boy she liked at school had just started "dating" her tall and skinny best friend.

I'm not really worried about the whole middle school "relationships" but the fact that already she is putting value on looks and feeling bad about herself is a bit concerning. I see my cousins pretty often and was wondering what I can do, as someone she looks up to, in order to help her get through those awkward years we all go through and encourage her to be a strong and confident young woman?

Any advice is greatly appreciated!
Ok, not to be spastic here but being in the same situation as your cousin once was, I think it is slightly serious. You may think "oh elementary school love" does not really count but when I was 11, the guy I liked (and yes little girls are more mature with feelings that little boys) hooked up with my so-called best friend (who knew I liked him). And I was teased for my weight as well, so I did believe it was all because of this.

It really hurt my feelings a lot. Someone I trusted ended up with the guy I told her I liked. And kissed him (and I mean kissed him on the mouth) in my birthday party. I felt horrible for months.

So I do feel that one should take children seriously. Kids or not their feelings get hurt. And getting rejected by your first love hurts a lot. It did make me stronger in the long run, but when someone used to compliment me afterwards I did feel they were toying with me rather than being serious.
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Old 06-18-2008, 08:03 PM   #7  
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I think your thread subject says it all. Be a role model and she will look up to you and trust you when you say 'there will be other boys... ones who like you for who you are.' Its good to compliment as well.

But if she is an emotional eater then it is never too early to try and get her to consider her health. Encourage her to join a sports team. This will help build esteem (hopefully she'll find a sport she is good at). You want to focus on building her self-esteem. Take her with you on walks or roller blading. If either of you have a dog take it on walks and race it to the end of each block. Or you could race her to the end of each block (let her win sometimes but don't be obvious). Let her see you eating healthy and dealing with problems with other things than food.

And let her know you are there for her to talk to when she is sad or lonely. Give her life advice and be aware of her feelings. Its better to have a role model who will be there for you.
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