AIBU to think DP needs to be very careful in bringing up hid daughter’s weight?(23 Posts)
As briefly as possible, my stepdaughter is 16 and a very beautiful girl - lovely hair, very pretty, nice clothes etc. She does have a tendency to overeat and loves food, will try anything and very varied tastes, but also likes junk food a lot!
So anyway, to be perfectly frank, she’s getting A LITTLE bit fat. DP is worried as for example she ate a whole baked Camembert with bread the other night.
He wants to bring it up with her and his mother (a very slim woman) agreed, but I’m not sure as I know she’s at an age where she’s vulnerable to eating disorders and also (like many girls her age) is very conscious of her appearance.
What do you think?
(Her mum sadly passed away so her dad is her only parent)
I'm slim; my sibling is not. If he wants to help, he can try taking up a new sport with her. Telling her she's fat will not help at all. She'll spend her whole life feeling too fat or too thin and have a super unhealthy relationship with food.
Yeah my mom totally tried to shame me into losing weight. At 16, I may have responded to offers of support via exercise together or healthy eating at home. It's so hard as a good parent will address it but knowing how to do so tactfully and without causing damage is hard.
I don't think he should bring it up. A 16 year old girl who is interested in her appearance (as you say she has nice hair etc) must be aware of her weight. I think he would be better of to act as a model of non judgemental support which is a quality more important than how you look and hopefully something she can learn from him.
Now that the weather is (please God) going to be getting warmer and the evenings are lighter, why not suggest a family walk after dinner? It could quickly become a habit and get everyone out of the house for a bit.
Thanks for replies - that’s pretty much my thinking. I am slim, but I think I would have responded very badly if any mention of fat or weight had been made at that age.
Maybe the healthy eating approach might work but I still think it needs thinking about very carefully.
She’s also got a very curvy figure and is quite tiny - only about five foot one - so I guess maybe weight gain shows quite quickly.
Perhaps you could go shopping with her, try on clothes, listen to what she says about her body.
That way you can gauge how she feels. She might not care she is a bit plump, or it might be really bothering her, in which case you could open up a conversation about it.
Otherwise, make sure meals are healthy - get her to help with menu planning. Get your DP to suggest to DD that they do an activity together - cycling, swimming, golf, walking etc
Your DSD will be aware of her size. She really doesn’t need to be told by anyone else. There’s a fine balance to be drawn here, as I’m sure you are aware of eating disorders, self-esteem issues etc
Hope that comes across in the positive way it is meant!
You sound like a lovely step mum who wants to do the best thing for her DSD
My parents use to have scales in the kitchen for weekly weigh ins.
Surprisingly enough this did not counter balance the fact we had ice cream every day for pudding and did no exercise as a family apart from walking the dog. Instead it has made me terrified of the scales, gave me a mild eating disorder as a teenager and both of their children are obese.
Please, please tread carefully. I would have responded really well to an exercise challenge, a weekly gym visit or something, together with more access to healthy food.
Yikes, don't comment on her weight! Maybe you can do something as a family, exercise and healthy eating - say you're all doing a 5-a-day challenge or something, or 10,000 steps using a Fitbit. Teens often love tech, she might ask for one herself.
My friends DH commented on their teenage DDs weight recently and she was furious. Told him this should be the last time he ever comments on her weight, as it is none of his business.
She will be well aware, she's gaining a bit
I would go down the route of gym membership done together and cooking really healthy meals.
I know she can buy sweets and cakes at her age for herself, but try not to have too much of them at home.
He should cook meals with her, with the emphasis on healthy food/eating... not pea sized portions or a life of salads.
Encourage swimming and other sporting activities for fun.
Weekly weigh ins?!?! That’s all kind of messed up!
I don’t think it helps that her older brother and my eldest son (who are almost exactly the same age) eat like they’ve been starved for five years and are both slim.
She really doesn’t like sport at all, but she does love fashion and make up and takes care over her appearance. Her mum was a similar build to her - very small and curvy - so she takes after her.
I’ll be going shopping with her tomorrow as she’s on holiday from school, so I’ll see how confident she seems trying things on maybe?
She’s genuinely a stunning looking girl but I know DP and his mum are worried and to be honest she probably is a bit overweight now as far as bmi goes.
Just to add - DP really is coming from a good place- he adores her and she him, but he’s never been a sixteen year old girl and I know I’m not her mum, but I care about her very much too, and I have!
His mum really is VERY slim and yet she has talked recently about being on a diet, and told DO’s sister her kids are getting fat (which really, really didn’t go down well as you can imagine!)
Nope don't! My dad made a comment on what I was eating when I was a teen 'too much etc' it affected me for ages. I ended up with a borderline eating disorder by 17 obsessed with exercising etc.
Not worth it. The teenage years are some of the most vulnerable for mental health disorders.
she ate a whole baked Camembert with bread the other night.
As a snack? As a meal? Does she help herself? Could you maybe change what food is around so sort of change her diet by stealth?
My dad once called me Two Tonne Tessie, my siblings were like tooth picks, I was perfectly normal. Don’t let him bring her weight up.
As a meal, but she had lots of other stuff that day too. She can help herself. She just likes food a lot too, but so do the older boys and they’re 18 and 19 and have their own money so get dominos and things, but they don’t seem to gain weight. They don’t live at home full time and just come and go, so get whatever they want.
I would try to influence by stealth and by example as a PP said. Not having junk food or soft drinks around the house at all.
I second the Fitbit recommendation; it's actually quite fun to use - and the whole family can join in. Just don't tease her about how many steps she achieves. x
I think discussing food choices would be a better idea than any discussion about being overweight. Exercise does help but overeating is usually the issue and a baked Camembert and bread alone is completely excessive, sorry. Sharing one with a few people and a huge a pile of salad is a better idea...
gentle nudge about healthy choices are required
Thank you for advice - to be honest we don’t have much junk food but with her and the older ones being able to buy their own stuff, it’s not as easy as just not having it in the house, if you see what I mean? My younger sons are two and five so obviously don’t get the same choices or freedom with food.
I agree with the idea of just gently steering the entire family diet in a direction that will help her without overtly making it about her. Drop any junk food, get the protein and vegetable content in meals up a bit, heavier carbs like potato down a bit and so on.
Your boys are probably seeing a certain amount of benefit of teenage male testosterone etc, which is a hell of a thing in terms of being able to maintain a decent body even despite fuelling it poorly.
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