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DD (9) thinks she is "fat"

12 replies

findingme · 20/05/2013 20:34

My beautiful DD is going through puberty, emotions all over the place. We have had many tearful cuddles about nothing in particular over the last year or so, just hormonal stuff.

This evening, she said to me that she wants to be 4 stone (weight). She is 6 stone, and very tall for her age. She is easily as tall as a 12 year old and has a healthy body. I asked her why she would want to be 4 stone and she replied that she is fat and burst into tears. I have spent the last hour cuddling her and telling her she is NOT fat, but I am worried that she thinks I am only saying that because I'm her Mum.

Anyone else experienced this and what did you say? is there is any reading material etc that I can show her so she believes me? I don't remember being so conscious of my body in year 4 but I guess they grow up quicker nowadays...

I am possibly over worrying here, but I have just discovered that someone I care about has been diagnosed with an eating disorder which she has suffered alone with for years, and I don't want to look back on this day in years to come, and wish I had done something.


OP posts:
Littleturkish · 20/05/2013 20:37

Gosh that is worrying.

As someone with an ED who started puberty early, I would say get professional help now. Nip it in the bud early.

Does she hear anyone speak negatively about their body? Does she watch tv shows where the characters go on diets etc?

findingme · 20/05/2013 20:45

She certainly doesn't hear anything negative here. DH and I both eat well, and don't diet. She watches stuff like I Carly and Victorious. I have watched as many episodes as I can bear and they don't seem too bad. I'm wondering if she has heard it at school. She is the most developed in her year, and the tallest.

I will pop her to the doctors to see if she can have a chat with the nurse. Thanks for the advice. I have literally come on here after putting her to bed, so haven't had a chance to think properly.

OP posts:
needanewnickname · 21/05/2013 00:21

I have talked to my DD (also 9) about the fact that when I was a teenager I spent lots of time worrying about my weight, but looking back I now know that I was not actually fat at all, but I do regret having spent so much time worrying about my weight. This message does seem to have got through (touch wood!) because my DD told another family member that, unlike other girls in her class, she does not worry about her weight because when you are older you look back and realise you were not actually fat. Even if this doesn't apply to you, you could perhaps discuss with your daughter that it is very common for girls to think that they are overweight when they are not. I think girls do probably worry about their weight from an earlier age these days. From my own childhood, I don't remember girls worrying about weight while still at primary school.

needanewnickname · 21/05/2013 00:33

We have the book "Ready, Steady, Grow!" which I think is good at conveying the message that there are lots of different versions of "normal" (both in terms of height and body development). There are some parts of the book that I think are too grown up for a 9-year-old so I check out the chapters for suitability first and look at them with my daughter.

findingme · 24/05/2013 14:05

Thanks for your help. I took her to see the nurse yesterday, who has hopefully reassured her. The nurse was lovely, told her straight away with no measurements that she looked perfect (DD looked a bit sceptical), then measured her height and weight and showed her where she was on the chart (as predicted by me, right in the middle of the green bit, where she should be). She seemed to take that in, and the nurse said that she can make another appointment in 6 months time if she has any worries then.

She has one growing up book - Girls Only, which I mainly bought to talk to her about periods, so will look at ready, steady, grow. There seem to be a few books of that name and they seem to be aimed at younger children so if you know the author that would be great

It seems that some girls at school have called her fat, so we have had a talk about verbal bullying (they learn lots about bullying at school but don't seem to recognise it when it happens to them) and both the nurse and I independently said to DD that these girls are probably jealous, so that has hopefully boosted her self esteem.

It's just so sad that children of this age are worrying about the way they look. I have looked on the internet and it does seem to be getting more and more common. Please, if your child ever says to you that they are unhappy with their weight, a quick trip to the doctors could prevent years of problems in the future.

Thanks again

OP posts:
Littleturkish · 27/05/2013 07:02

So pleased you have had a swift and effective intervention. Brilliant work!

specialsubject · 29/05/2013 21:28

excellent, you are just wonderful. My immediate thought was that some nasty little shit was bullying her.

life lesson - what goes around comes around. It really does with the school bullies.

arm her with more information; photos are faked, models are sick and healthy weight is a range, not a number.

cory · 30/05/2013 10:03

I was also called fat when I was her age. Looking back at those photographs I see a straight thin body with not an ounce of fat on.

I have come to the conclusion that with this age group 'fat' is often just a meaningless term of abuse, as when boys call each other gay without any reference to actual sexuality. In my day they used CP (as in cerebral palsy) to mean stupid; thankfully I haven't heard that one for a long time. Again it had no reference to the actual disability.

needanewnickname · 02/06/2013 00:11

Sorry OP, I got the title of the book slightly wrong before. It's "Ready, Set, Grow!" by Lynda Madaras. Very glad to hear that the nurse at your GP's surgery dealt with the situation well.

mynameisnotmichaelcaine · 02/06/2013 00:18

My dd went through this exact thing earlier in Year 4. She had a chat with the school nurse, which really seemed to nip things in the bud. Obviously I still keep a close eye on things.

Glad your nurse was helpful too. Much sympathy, the whole thing is very upsetting.

ihatethecold · 02/06/2013 15:38

i show my dd9 the big posters in shops and magazines and expalin what tney do to them to make the people look perfect, how its all fake to make you buy something.

she also shows concerns about body shape and size. she weighs 5 and a half stone and will ask me if thats too much. (its definately not)

I try to re assure her that everyone is different in size and shape and being active is the most important thing she can do to grow up healthy.

burberryqueen · 02/06/2013 15:45

I think some children do just use the word 'fat' as a general insult.
I would ask the school nurse to weigh her and show her the height/weight chart.
it is such a worry though with girls these days. my 14 year old is a size 8 and tells me she wants to lose weight!! ffs! I tell her that she is a fine figure of a girl and to shut it....

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