One mother was shocked -- shocked! -- when her daughter came home and announced, "Mommy, I can't drink soda because it gives you a fat tummy" -- something she'd heard from her camp counselor. Instead of agreeing (and possibly adding that it rots your teeth too), uber-mom of three young daughters, author and blogger Stefanie Wilder-Taylor, chose to bury deep into the denial of reality by banning the word "fat" in her household and asking her friends and people around her daughters not to discuss their weight issues in front of them.
"I was horrified," says Stefanie at the thought of her youngin' hearing the F word. "They are too young to be thinking about dieting or whether they're fat or thin." Correct me if I'm wrong, but a young child saying she can't drink a soda isn't exactly "dieting." Stefanie had a chance to break her kid of a soda habit -- one that could become lifelong and debilitating -- and chose not to.
But beyond that, Stefanie could have used this incident as a "teachable moment." Instead of banning the word fat and running around demanding that your friends not discuss their weight in front of your kids -- how about talking to your kids realistically about weight, health, and diet?
After all, no matter how diligently Stefanie blogs, someone, somewhere, is going to let the F word slip in front of her kids. Sorry, mommy, you can't control the world. Though you wouldn't be the first mom who tried to erase the word "fat" from the planet.
And, yes, it's quite possible that when her daughters are still very young, they will hear classmates talking about their weight and dieting. They may even utter the dreaded F word. Perhaps Stefanie plans on hiding out under her daughters' school desk and spying on all of their conversations to keep this from happening, but I'd say the more sane approach would be to talk frankly with your kids about these things.
How about something like, "Well, dear, one soda will not make you fat, but soda isn't very healthy and if you have too much of it, that could be the outcome. In fact, everything in moderation is a good life lesson. So if you want the soda, that's fine, but let's go play outside after you drink it."
I know. CRAZY.
In fact, banning of the word "fat" might even encourage the kids to become obsessed with weight. Like my childhood friend, who wasn't allowed to watch TV at home. Whenever she'd come over, all she'd want to do was watch TV. Play outside? Nope. TV had become the forbidden fruit she was determined to pig out on before returning to her Bugs Bunny-free house.
Trying to block out the world -- which contains a lot of less-than-ideal words, terms, and actual happenings -- never works. The world is too big.
So, instead, think about arming your kids with information to try and tackle the world and make their own choices.
Do you think words should be banned around kids?
Image via Good Morning America