My 7-year-old wants to 'diet'… And the right response

What do you tell your 7-year-old daughter when she says she wants to diet?
Stuff 7 June 2017
Family First Comment: Here’s a really interesting comparison.
Anorexia nervosa is still a disorder. Do we respond with weight loss pills and reinforcing the need to be stick-thin? Of course not. As this article says, we encourage the child to accept themselves and celebrate themselves as they are.
Now read this article but replace ‘thin’ and ‘fat’ with the words ‘boy’ ‘girl’ – and you will see what the response SHOULD be to children who think they should be the opposite sex.
But anorexia nervosa is still a disorder. Gender dysphoria is an “identity” – and beware if you don’t reinforce it.
But the culture and media’s response to gender dysphoria ultimate harms the child. Which is why we will continue to speak up about it. Children deserve the truth – and they deserve the biological reality.
I think she’s perfect. Of course I would say that, I’m her mother, I see her through the rose-tint of my love. But really, she is an utterly gorgeous little girl.
She laughs with her whole body. She hugs with her whole heart. She is bright and funny and full of vim.
But something is going wrong with my amazing daughter, Izzy*. She thinks she is fat. She pulls up her T-shirt and sticks her belly out at me as if it’s proof – all I see is a growing child. She tells me that she has to lose weight. She says things like “If I was skinny I would be a much faster swimmer” and “I’m fat because I don’t exercise enough”.
It breaks my heart. Hearing my darling seven-year-old using words like “fat” and “skinny” stings. They feel like the words of angst-ridden adolescence, not childhood. I tell her that she is perfect and that between swimming, soccer and ballet she gets plenty of exercise. But I know that my words aren’t hitting the spot.
I remember it all too well – being bigger than my peers; deciding even before the teasing started that my body was wrong.


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