To ban my 14 yo DD from dieting?(162 Posts)
DD just turned 14 and has started saying she's fat, needs to diet etc, DH and I told her she does not need to diet, but she stormed off. We always eat healthily in our family (breakfast fruit, lunch healthy sarnies), we have one young baby and another on the way, so we're definitely trying to make sure that family stays happy and healthy! The main problem with dd dieting is that she honestly doesn't need to - not saying this in a motherly "my daughter's perfect" way, it's just that she is literally the perfect weight for her age. I dug a little further, and it turns out she's being bullied at school by "friends" saying she's "flabby" (that's a thing?). Anyway, I've told her that in no uncertain terms she is to not eat, or fast or whatever the latest weight loss shit exists, and she said that I'm an awful mother, and hasn't spoken to me for 3 days now. Have I done something wrong? Do dh and I need to look into getting her some help, or is that even worse?
Poor you - of course it's the bullying that is the main issue so presumably you're going to speak with the school about getting that resolved?
Personally, I would have a chat with her and find out what she means by dieting? There's nothing wrong with her having an interest and maybe some input into the family meals, especially if it gives her some control.
My DD is the same we went shopping together and compiled food that was healthy and we could agree on a balance diet rather than a food reduction diet. I want her to be able to talk to me rather than cutting out food when we are not there. It is really difficult.
I don't think we can talk to the schools about it, it's very preppy and all they care about is appearance not the pupils, also as Dd is apparently quite popular, I think it's the boys that she wants to look nice for so not sure what the school can do. I'm definitely going to try get her involved with meal planning when she finally talks to me, but because I'm pregnant it's really hard to find something the whole family wants to eat, I've got weird cravings, dh is back late from work, and we have another baby who's nearly a year old and she's a bit of a fussy eater of late, so it's a tough one 😕
But if it's bullying then surely that's more a matter of concern in the long-run?
An alternative approach might be to let your DD talk to a doctor/nurse about her age, height and weight and how dieting could effect her health. The doctor could explain that she may need to be a bit 'flabby' at this age to fuel growth and hormones and that having a bit of puppy fat now is necessary for future health and beauty. Perhaps they could come up with a healthy eating/exercise plan for her that will give her the nutrition she needs while toning up the 'flabby' parts of her body. I don't know if you have a nutritionist you could take her to. I took DD1 to one and she worked together with her to come up with an eating plan that DD1 (extremely fussy vegetarian) could deal with. It helped me too as I had been extremely worried that DD1 wasn't eating enough and actually she was.
I think if you just ban her from diets and dismiss her concerns she could turn to stuff like forcing herself to vomit after meals or not eating during the day at school. I think when it comes to food it is better for children to feel like they have control over what they eat to a certain extent. However, she needs to understand how to eat to maintain her health and how many calories a day she needs to fuel her development (physically and mentally).
Instead of an outright ban (almost guaranteed to get a teenager to do something) can you work with her to meal plan healthy meals and snacks so she understands what she needs to stay fit and full of energy (and also drop in little nuggets of what works to help keep skin clear and hair at it's best etc)
If the word flabby is being thrown around would adding an exercise class boost her opinion of her appearance as the right one will help her tone
I did kick boxing as a young adult and the class I attended did a lot of strength building as well as the martial art itself
In addition to my earlier post, it would be a good idea to raise this with the school. Even if this isn't bullying if it is something the children are dwelling on a lot they might end up with an outbreak of eating disorders as children competitively diet.
I definitely will raise this with school then, however hubbie is sceptical that they can and will do nothing, as for dismissing her concerns of weight, I am most definitely not doing that, as I value what she has to say about herself, I'm just very worried that keeping up appearance at and outside of school is getting too much
Personally I think you banning a diet won't do anything apart from push her further. And then she will talk to you less.
The bullying needs dealing with. You need to speak to the school.
Personally I think when it comes to appearance what is 'just right' is very personal. There is no right answer. She may be on the cusp of an eating disorder which makes it harder as she will never be happy.
But blanket bans on 'not eating' isn't the way to go. You need to speak to her about her height and weight, about health, about bullying and its effect.
My Dd put on weight when she first started secondary. She was unhappy and we put her on a 'diet'. It wasn't a diet. We talked a lot about health, why some foods arent as good as others. We discussed it in relation to her hobby which is sport and how eating the right stuff would fuel her body and training. She lost the weight and is making healthy choices all the time. She has made massive improvements at sport (inside and outside school) .
Her wanting to lose weight doesn't mean starving herself or having. An eating disorder. But don't push her further away. It won't help.
It's not easy and you have sympathy. Kids and health/weight is a very difficult area to navigate.
I don't just take my DD food shopping she is also involved in the cooking and preparing. TBH it is normal daily food but extra veg and salad but she feels she has control and a say. She does her own packed lunch and breakfast.
I think that dh and I are in a difficult position in the fact that dd goes to preppy private school (which I hate) and everyone apparently boasts about whose Daddy has the best Rolls this week and whose Mummy has the best dietician etc. and if she goes to a friend's house, weight comments will be made by other mothers (I was outraged by this) and also MIL makes constant weight comments about daughter. In 2014 for example we went on family holiday, MIL, SIL, BIL myself (pregnant at time), husband, and daughter and MIL said to dd "I know your mother's pregnant and everything, but your starting to get fat like her. It was at this point that I wanted to slap the old hag in the face, but she is still relentless in weight comments, even now
What the hell! What on earth was your MIL thinking? She's being a damaging dickhead and your husband needs to tell her to cut that sort of thing out right now. I would be minimising the amount of time they spend together if she can't get her head round why that is a stupid thing to say to a young girl.
Am I right in thinking that your husband is her stepdad?
Is there any chance of getting her more involved in preparing food at home? Planning family dinners etc, where she can do the work of thinking about what's balanced?
MIL sounds awful - your poor DD!
I agree with Becky that she needs to be stopped ASAP - having family saying the same things to your DD as her bullies do will reinforce those ideas 10x over.
I would go along the route of speaking to DD,.and looking into health options with her. Start with something like "I don't think you're fat, and your body will still be changing at this age anyway, but if you feel you want to look into getting a bit healthier then we can look into some sensible options together".
Explain that crash diets, starvation and other fads are dangerous, and if anything usually make you gain weight, as well as having a negative effect on your health and appearance.
But she can join a couple of active hobby classes, and have a say in mealtimes where it is not too difficult. (Under supervision so you know she is not making any bad decisions).
BTW so many of my friends who went to those kind of schools have eating disorders even 20 years on, it's no joke and the school damn well ought to be taking it seriously, talking to the school about fat-shaming, the damage from dieting in your teens etc.
oh dear - sounds like you and DD have a heck of a lot on your plates at the moment (not literally ).
DD seems to be getting it from all sides - school, friends, relatives etc. Whereas you seem to be swimming uptide without much support. Personally if your DH is a help rather than a hindrance I think I'd call him in now for moral support if nothing else. Would having a new activity with her father be at all possible? Just thinking that maybe having something she and he can do together might give her self-esteem a boost which she may need at the moment.
I think you should encourage your daughter to improve her fitness and along with that support her in a healthy diet to fuel her body. Is there something she would enjoy? There is no harm in encouraging exercise. It would also be a good idea to point her in the right direction of the foods needed to properly fuel her body while she exercises. I would promote building strength and toning and all the physical and mental benefits of exercise. I would then tell her you are behind her 100% in eating clean. Good carbs, lean meats, good fats etc. Get her to do some research with you into healthy diets and give her some control back. This doesn't need to be a battle, work together to find something she will love doing and support her in her quest to tone up and be healthy.
Your MIL needs dealing with - good luck with that one!
One of my daughters is a dancer and has faced similar pressure and teasing. I involved her in meal planning and she had some sessions with a trainer at our gym who also advised her on diet. Seemed to work for us.
No dh is not her stepfather he's biological, but he has tried standing up to his mother, but she's such a bitch she just won't listen to anyone. My personal thoughts are that because the old cow is so fat herself, she judges others weight to feel better about herself...
Reading with interest because I've had this with ds1(12).
I am currently on a very specific temporary regime for my diabetes and I was horrified when he started talking about carb values, fat and calories of foods.
Also daughter does keep fit, before I got pregnant we used to run together every day for 2 miles after her homework, and now she goes to the gym with my sister on the weekends - plus the PE she's doing at school includes 1500 m athletics every day shudders
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