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5yo dd says her thighs are 'fat'. Please help.

(10 Posts)
MolotovCocktail Fri 28-Mar-14 10:43:42

She said this to me last night whilst sitting down. I explained that her thighs are not fat; that it is the effect of the skin being pushed against a surface. I demonstrated this by sitting and standing for her for her to see the effects upon my thighs.

She again said this morning thay her thighs are fat, and I said that she is a perfectly healthy weight and that her legs are perfect.

But ... this is scaring me. I have a history of an eating disorder but I am extremely conscious never, ever, to let this show in front of my dds. There is no talk of 'fat' or 'thin' in our house. Just healthy, and feeling good. I always eat well in front of my daughters and am never fussy or picky over my food. I am confident that no negative mesaages are coming from me here.

I asked if the girls at school talk about their bodies in this way. She said no.

They are quite focused on 'healty lifestyles' at school - maybe this contributes?

She's due a YrR height/weight/vision check in 2 weeks at school. I don't think I want her doing this now. What should I do?

She's only just 5 sad Please advise me to help her.

hellymelly Fri 28-Mar-14 10:49:47

She might not be loading the word "fat" with the feelings you have about it, that is something to bear in mind. My 6 year old dd will say "look how fat I can make my tummy" and stick it out as much as possible, but she doesn't mean fat in the sense that I would. Your dd might be just commenting on the spread of her thighs as she sits,in an interested way. I would just say something like "oh you have gorgeous little thighs, just like the rest of you" or something and then chat about something else, so it doesn't become a big deal. She may have heard a bigger girl in school say something similar and be copying it without realising.

nobutreally Fri 28-Mar-14 11:15:17

I think, as helly says, you are seeing this through the filter of your concerns and previous history. I would have thought the best thing to do is not to make a big deal out of it (ie treat it as normally as you would if she said she has brown hair, or big feet, or whatever) - from her pov, fat is just another word, not necessary as emotionally laden as it is for you.

I suspect that as you say, this has been triggered by some (poorly handled) health advice at school. I like you, always talk about eating healthily, not avoiding getting fat.

But I make a point of (sometimes) using fat positively ('lovely fat juicy legs' type comments) although my kids know it's not to be used as a descriptor outside the house - as it's my feeling making being fat a Bad Thing is probably dangerous (but I speak from the pov of someone who historically never really struggled with weight issues, through the inheritance of some useful genes!)

MolotovCocktail Fri 28-Mar-14 11:55:07

Thanks both, I appreciate the perspectives you've given with this.

My history of having an eating disorder heavily colours how I perceive 'ordinary' behaviours thay relate to weight and body image. The important thing is for me not to make it into an issue. There will be lots of under-the-radar comments this weekend about how clever, kind and beautiful she is.

And, she really is smile

Just still wondering about the YrR height / weight / vision check? When I first learned of it, I wasn't sure. Kind of puts too much emphasis on the body from my POV. But is this me projecting my previous problems and their associations? Or is it a good idea to sheild dd from this, at this time?

Also, thanks helly for replying and acknowledging both threads.

Sleepwhenidie Fri 28-Mar-14 12:01:33

Again, I think the children will put as much importance on the checks as their influential adults do. It's just a quick process at school, they will think nothing of it, I think it will be the opposite if you refuse for her to go through it, when others do? I wouldn't even discuss it unless she has questions, in which case they are just checking to see that everyone in class is growing properly and can see well....

MolotovCocktail Fri 28-Mar-14 12:12:36

So, there's no undressing involved to be weighed?

She is tall; she has been on the 91st centile for height for ages on prev HV checks (none done for over a year now). Again, we always say 'lovely and tall' and such. I just don't want to have an issue from her with this but I am worried about turning it into something.

MolotovCocktail Fri 28-Mar-14 12:14:25

I also don't want the other children making a point about her height, or her feeling weird about it.

(She's not unusually tall, btw! Maybe she could pass for 6yo, she's about as tall as the eldest boys in her class).

hellymelly Sat 29-Mar-14 15:17:38

I don't think children tend to tease about height, my elder dd is the tallest in her class and very proud of the fact (she is 9). My two have enjoyed being measured, and not worried at all about being weighed at school, as they all have it at the same time. My 9 year old did worry slightly about being weighed at the doctor's recently, but only because she was worrying about the appointment generally. Most small girls just enjoy the fact they are growing, it isn't a negative thing for them at all. My girls are skinny and small framed, some of their friends the opposite, and I've never heard a negative comment. It is more, as the Smiths said, "some girls are bigger than others, some girls' mothers are bigger than other girls' mothers". They accept variation in body size like variation in eye colour, or hair texture, or skin colour. There is no sense that they think one is more attractive than another. We live in a rural area, so perhaps in cities by nine they are a bit more body conscious, but my nine year old would probably happily run about naked on the beach without a care if I let her. So I really think you are panicking because you had such a rough ride with your own body image, and you feel guilty about any possibility of your dd going through something similar. It sounds as though you are saying all the right things so just enjoy your gorgeous little girls. Girls often naturally podge out pre-puberty, before the big growth spurt, when they slim down again, and if she is given positive feelings about her body now, then hopefully she will feel confortable with that happening.

MolotovCocktail Sat 29-Mar-14 17:59:19

Thank-you helly, that's reassuring and very useful advice. You've completely hit the nail on the head with lots of things, there. I shall take heed; allow her to go through the routine checks and answer any issues if they should arise.

hellymelly Sat 29-Mar-14 23:01:52

It is tough, even without our own body image issues, as the world is very hard on young girls. I really dread the teenage years and my daughters getting sexual attention and pressure from porn-fed boys. I was thin all my life pre (late) babies, and I have to bite my tongue not to bemoan my slightly chubbier frame now in front of my daughters. I hate my pizza dough tummy, but my daughter just likes the softness of it, she thinks I'm lovely, and there is some freedom and consolation in that. We can learn to accept the positive feelings our young children have about our bodies, and hopefully give the same feelings to them about theirs.

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