WHEN I FAT SHAMED MY KID WITHOUT EVEN REALISING IT
“Can I have one more parantha mumma?” Reyan asked me casually.
“Reyan, you must control your hunger. Look at yourself, you are getting overweight,” pat came my reply.
“Mumma, give me mango shake, I am feeling so thirsty and hungry,” he asked me the other day.
“I think you should have some lemonade rather than milkshake, you are getting fat” I showed my concern.
“Mom, how am I looking in this new shirt?” Reyan’s excitement was obvious.
“Reyan, you need to lose weight. Look your belly is visible. By the way you are looking great.” I didn’t want to hide the fact from him; he should know that he is gaining weight.
“Reyan, look at this two year old picture of yours. You were so thin and looked so good. Now, you look quite big among your pals. Beta you shall work on yourself,” my nagging didn’t only end.
My 12 year old son is not obese or too heavy for his age. It was just that he had gained weight in last year and that was a bit much for me to digest. The weight gain was obvious as his sister looked slimmer as compared to him due to her growth spurt. But Reyan’s spurt was awaited.
Unknowingly now and then, I would brood about his heavy torso and build; would often scold him for his eating habits. I would just compare his past pictures with his present ones. My intention was just to encourage him to be physically active but may be my execution wasn’t that encouraging. My constant hounding had an adverse effect on his confidence and this, I realized much later.
Especially after the conversation below with his class teacher.
“Madam, I want to talk to you about Reyan. He doesn’t participate in his class and extracurricular activities any more. He seems to be less confident now. Even if he does, he participates just in group competitions. This is unlike Reyan whom I know. Is something wrong with him?” asked his class teacher.
I was clueless about what she just said now. I needed to talk to him.
“Reyan, don’t you like your class , your friends?” I asked him.
He stayed mute. After a little time, he opened up, “My friends are so tall and smart, I guess I am the shortest and fattest among all.”
Oh! That moment, it dawned on me and was filled with immense regret. It was me who made him develop that complex and feel not so good about his body. I had nothing to say.
All I could do was to undo what I had done and work on instilling his faith in himself. Unintentionally, I was responsible for the loss of confidence in my pre-teen child.
I leave you with something to ponder, When your parents fat-shame you, how could you ever come to love your body?
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