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So sad and wonder what I should have done

(72 Posts)
Shirleycantbe Fri 11-Jul-14 12:08:15

At the swimming pool yesterday I heard a mother say angrily to her 9 yr old daughter as she got changed:

"You've got FAT on your stomach. You are getting FAT because you aren't disciplined about your eating"

As the mother of 2 girls and having myself suffered from eating and body image issues this broke my heart.

But I said nothing partly because I was in shock and partly because I know I will see her week after week as the little girl swims with my daughters.

What would you do? I'll see her again next week...

fourforksache Fri 11-Jul-14 12:11:46

I don't think you can do anything to be honest, I may be wrong, but doesn't this fall into parental choice of how to bring up your own kids? I think it's abusive language and I wouldn't speak to my kids that way. But as far as actually doing something about a parent behaving that way - there's no law against a parent being a cunt is there?

Nancy66 Fri 11-Jul-14 12:15:11

the mother was wrong to publicly humiliate her child like that. However I hate seeing overweight children - it just shouldn't happen and I do think the softly softly, say nothing attitude creeping in is doing the next generation no favours.

fourforksache Fri 11-Jul-14 12:18:14

Nancy - who feeds our kids? Parents or the kids themselves?

If a child is gaining weight, the parent needs to adjust input, there doesn't need to be blame.

Shirleycantbe Fri 11-Jul-14 12:19:46

I agree Nancy, and I get very twitchy when mine go through slightly pudgy stages because I hold myself responsible.

But then I'm just really careful about treats and portion size, up the fruit and veg and talk about remembering to stop eating when you are full.

But this mother's tone was just full of disgust. The little girl (who was at most a bit chubby) just stood there looking sad and forlorn. I do think it was abusive.

Nomama Fri 11-Jul-14 12:30:27

And she might be training a future Olympian!

(Having had a lot to do with young elite-wannabes I know how hard they have to be in order to succeed, it is not nice at all!)

fourforksache Fri 11-Jul-14 12:32:35

Oh, she's training a future olympian - that makes verbal abuse ok then. [rollseyes]

Nancy66 Fri 11-Jul-14 12:32:45

fourfork - no, there doesn't need to be blame but there does need to be action.

Shirley, it sounds like this mother is being very cruel and at least she's swimming, so she's active.

fourforksache Fri 11-Jul-14 12:33:03

where's my eye roll gone HQ?

Nomama Fri 11-Jul-14 12:42:42

Yes, apparently it does fourforks. It is called keeping discipline and training.

It can be really upsetting in 16 - 19 year olds, which is when I get them. But talking to them about how they trained when younger is quite an eye opener.

Read any elite athletic sport biography and you will probably see a childhood you wouldn't wish on your own - think Andy Murray or any gymnast!

KnackeredMuchly Fri 11-Jul-14 12:44:39

That is awful, but I wouldn't do anything about it.

I don't care if she's a future World Record Olympian, it's disgusting language to use with anyone let alone a 9 year old.

Nomama Fri 11-Jul-14 12:53:55

But some people do, is the point I am trying to make. Not everyone wants to live a fluffy, naice, ordinary life. So sometimes, stepping outside the norm is required. And that occasionally requires less than accepting/liberal parenting.

It was just a thought, an example, you don't have to do it with yours. But it might help explain why this mum was being strident/mean/bullying - pick you adjective.

fourforksache Fri 11-Jul-14 12:55:52

Sounds like ways to condone abuse No.

If you see the mother on her own, tell her she's a disgrace for the way she speaks to her DD.

"Not everyone wants a naice, ordinary, fluffy life"

Every child wants to grow up without verbal abuse being the norm.

Do what you want as an adult, keep your children out of it, if it is abusive, dysfunctional etc.

Nomama Fri 11-Jul-14 13:02:00

I shall cease and desist. It is obvious that what I actually meant is not MN acceptable.

fourforksache Fri 11-Jul-14 13:07:08

or, just not fucking acceptable at all?

firesidechat Fri 11-Jul-14 13:12:52

So Nomama this mother of a future Olympian suddenly discovered, in a public place, that her child may be packing a bit of extra padding around her tummy and felt the need to challenge her about it in front of complete strangers? I don't think anyone would argue that that was an ok thing to do.

It's not even clear that this child was at all overweight and even if she was, it's a rubbish time and place to have a word. Very sad.

fourforksache Fri 11-Jul-14 13:15:48

depending on age, surely it's not the child's behaviour that needs to be addressed? If a child is overweight, change the food.

I agree with fireside.

lady1980 Fri 11-Jul-14 13:19:24

So sad to speak to your little girl that way ,[sad ]

dancestomyowntune Fri 11-Jul-14 13:24:04

The mother's attitude stinks.

HOWEVER, I can see what Nomama is saying. Discipline over diet is part and parcel when training athletes, dancers, sportsmen and women. The mother in this instance is going about it the wrong way, but not challenging bad eating habits is just as bad in my opinion. Neglectful, even.

It's a very fine line and perhaps the mother could do with being shown a different way to address any concerns.

topbanana1 Fri 11-Jul-14 13:27:20

Can't believe there is anyone justifying what this mother said! shock

Sadly, I don't see what you can do/say to either mother or daughter to help. You can hardly go up to the girl and tell her how pretty she is as she is - it would just sound weird.

firesidechat Fri 11-Jul-14 13:29:23

If the child was aged 9 then the mother was 99% (at least) responsible for "bad eating habits".

fourforksache Fri 11-Jul-14 13:30:13

dances, if indeed this child is some Olympic athlete in training I would expect the parent to have firm control over diet. Verbal abuse like that is not necessary or constructive.

dancestomyowntune Fri 11-Jul-14 13:31:08

I'm not excusing the mother's behaviour. She was vile, but the truth is softly softly doesn't always work. It's much harder to put right when the damage has already been done. Both physically AND emotionally.

chockbic Fri 11-Jul-14 13:31:29

I wonder if the mother said that in public to humiliate the girl?

Emotional abuse is what it is.

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