Helping your child who struggles with obesity is never an easy thing. It’s difficult to know when they need help and how exactly to go about doing it. Children are sensitive to so many different things that you never know how they will react to a confrontation with a parent; sometimes you don’t really even know how they’re feeling. Here are some tips to helping a child who struggles with obesity.
Tip #1: Change Family behaviors
Instead of singling out the one child that seems to be having a problem with their weight, get everyone in the family involved with the process. After all, it’s not going to kill anyone to eat a little healthier, and to get more physical exercise. Changing family behaviors will make the struggling child feel less like the center of attention and more like part of the family. Changing family behaviors is going to be better for everyone as you can all support one another.
Tip #2: Change your diet
An obese child is truly at the mercy of their parent. When a parent goes to the grocery store and comes home with chips, candy, ice cream, and foods high in carbohydrates and fats what else do you expect them to eat? You’re almost sentencing them to their own exile with a grocery list like this. If you’re child is struggling with obesity you need to look at what you’re doing or how you’re contributing to it. It generally begins with what you’re buying or not buying at the grocery store. Are you eating out more than four or five times a week? What kind of foods are you buying at the grocery store? Diets that are high in carbohydrates, fats, and sugars are three contributors to obesity. Do you and your child a favor; eat out less and start buying some healthy foods and snacks. Fruits, vegetables, whole wheat grains, low fat crackers, etc. This is only the beginning. If you can successfully change the diet of your child and your family you can begin to eliminate some of the problems that lead to obesity.
Tip #3: Get them involved in something they like
Helping a child struggling with obesity can be tricky. You don’t want to force them into physical activity, but you don’t want them to sit and wallow in their self pity watching television all day. Finding a balance somewhere in between is the key. Get them involved in something they already enjoy regardless of whether or not it is something physical. Many children struggling with obesity have low self esteem and might need a little encouragement in getting out there and involved. If they like art then get them into some art classes. If they’re into music then find something they can do with music. It’s really about getting them involved in something they can excel at. Once they begin to feel good about who they are, it makes it easier to make the other needed changes.
Tip #4: Be supportive
Even though you want to help them lose the weight and feel better about themselves you have to be careful about how you go about doing it. Each child is different in how they respond to a parent’s concern, however with that in mind don’t try to force anything on them. That is more likely to drive them away. Be supportive of who they are while at the same time trying to make the needed changes to help them win the battle with obesity.
A child struggling with obesity shouldn’t have to go through it alone. Helping your child who struggles with obesity is a parent’s responsibility. Finding a balance between helping, teaching, and caring will never be easy, but they deserve every ounce of effort you can expend.