Friday, November 14, 2014

Being a Parent Your Child can Trust

Fat shaming frequently includes comments about health, as in "I just want you to be healthy." 

News flash! Fat people can be healthy and thin people can be unhealthy. In my own life my health has affected my weight much more than my weight has affected my health. 

I recently had a child tell me that they shouldn't eat sugar because it causes Diabetes. When I questioned that, saying that there was more to someone having Diabetes than just eating sugar, the child responded by saying that it usually happened after a person was grossly overweight for a long time. 

It always bothers me when parents use scare tactics to try and control or manipulate their children's behavior. Parents do this all the time! It's sometimes based on some aspect of the truth, but it's often a gross exaggeration and said in a way that is mean to create fear based avoidance in their child. Sometimes parents believe what they are saying is true, even when science doesn't back them up.

For example, many parents still cling to the idea that eating sugar makes their kid hyper.  As this video shows, that's not true:  Sugar Doesn't Make Kids Hyper

If you want to have a relationship with your child that is built on mutual trust and respect, then you need to provide them with facts. If you don't know the facts, research them, possibly together with your child. And I don't mean shoving the facts down their throats! Exploring the world together does not mean exploring the world according to your agenda, if they aren't interested, let it go. If you avoid pushing information onto your child, or using it to try and manipulate their behavior, they are much more likely to come to you when they are interested in exploring a topic. If you insist on pushing information onto your kid, or using half truths to scare them, chances are they will learn to tune out what you are saying or stop trusting you to tell them the truth. In the long run, telling your kids the truth and sticking to the facts gives you a better relationship, and makes it more likely that your kids are going to hear what you have to say on topics that are important to you. 

But back to weight and health and the facts! According to the American Diabetes Association: 

Most overweight people never develop type 2 diabetes, and many people with type 2 diabetes are at a normal weight or only moderately overweight. 

You can learn more facts about diabetes on their website HERE.

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