You’re crossing an inappropriate boundary when you judge and comment on a child’s body.
Do better! Now! It’s time to stop weight bullying your kids and your kid’s friends.
Weight Bullying Is Abusive and Toxic
Here’s the logic thread: If you bully, your kid will bully. If you are bullying, do a U-turn. You are bullying yourself. If you bully, you are stuck in diet culture and its toxic harms. All of it trickles to your kid. You are living a limited life and you’re putting cinder blocks on your kid’s potential growth as a human being and chance at happiness.
When I started TikTok over a year ago, I was shocked at the number of videos of body positive creators getting cyber-bullied based on their body size. Absolutely horrible! So, I started making videos talking about how you know nothing about anyone else’s health. Health and weight are not directly correlated and health information is private and protected. So, that was that. And, the cyber-bullying continues in full force.
Then, shockingly, I started noticing videos made by young adults whose parents have weight bullied them. Totally disgusting and abusive! So, I made duets and called it out on my go-to platform, TikTok.
Okay then, what will I discover next after putting on my scuba gear and diving into the clock app?
I won’t change the world. I’m here to learn. Listen. Listen. Listen.
Just the other day, I ran across a video while scrolling, where @powerlove2855, who I follow and you should too, talked about when she was little, her friend’s mom weight bullied her. Unbelievably toxic!
Weight Bullying Video with a Teen TikTok Creator
My text at the top:
Studies show young children experience weight-based victimization from parents, friends, peers, doctors, and teachers.
“On more than one occasion in elementary school I would have a friend tell me that her Mom said I was fat and I needed to lose weight. That Mom was secretly hoping that that little girl would stop being my friend. Because she wanted her little girl to have the social capital of being friends with all the pretty, tiny, little Limited 2 girls back in my time.”
“It is so absolutely petty. The part of this conversation of growing up fat that we don’t talk about enough is that adults that are not your family, not your parents consistently comment on your body. Friends of parents, teachers, lunch ladies, school librarians, neighbors, unhinged women at the grocery store who tell your Mom to stop feeding you.”
“The absolutely disgusting commentary around a child’s body must end. Must end.”
The comments on my video are rolling in and it’s not looking good, folks! Grandparents weight bully, Parents, friends’ parents, teachers, doctors, neighbors. It’s a toxic entitlement to comment on children’s bodies. As a pediatrician and mandatory reporter, these comments strike me as inappropriate on the level of verbal and emotional abuse. Let’s disrupt the toxicity by calling it out!
Weight Shouldn’t Be Weaponized
Research and studies have been out for quite a while of parental perceptions of weight-based victimization, its harms for their children and listing weight bullying as the number one health concern for parents of teens with overweight.
It’s unfortunately, not a surprise that children in larger bodies are ostracized and their weight is weaponized as a weakness, just as they are growing and developing.
Parents, we can help our children and teens create bully bans or boundary setting statements, but, if you are a weight bully stuck in diet culture and your internalized biases, you’ve got some work to do.
Make a Commitment to Stop Weight Bullying Your Kids or Teens
Commit today to not bully your child or teen. What are your future parent guide words? Envision you showing up as the kind of parent you want to be. Nobody’s watching but you, and your kid. If you are a parent who is a weight bully, you’re most likely weight bullying yourself and it’s not a simple flip of a switch to cancel diet culture. Your children and teens are worth the work you have to do to do better.
May 2022 Is Mental Health Awareness Month
It’s Mental Health Awareness Month. Teens are in a Mental Health Crisis as another wave of COVID hits. We simply don’t have time or tolerance for adults who bully children.
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Dr. Karla, ActivistMD