Last week I met a parent who wanted to say something about her kid’s surprising behaviour which she has been noticing for months. She asserted that her kid’s eating routine has changed since past few months and now she is skipping her meals most of the time. This sudden change in her diet also affecting her child’s health as she stops taking active participation in sports as well as her after school evening community (social and religious) services due to tiredness. She believes that the reason can be a fight which they had 3 months ago over something and in exchange she said something offensive about her daughter’s eating habit. Now the desperate mother is worried about her daughter’s wellbeing and routine. While listening, I started wondering that, ‘being overweight might affect any teen’s physical, social and mental development. However, how it’s going to affect any teen’s psychological development when a parent talk to him/her about their weight issues or their eating routine? Does it even matter how and what medium parents are using to ask such concerns from their children?
When you talk to your teens about their being overweight and all they do is tune you out, there may be a good reason. See, here you might want to help your kid, but it’s important for a parent to know that discussing such topics in an abrupt manner might upset or embarrassed the child. Resulting from which he/she might stop you to further meddling their space. A topic like these, require proper awareness and education, timings and the choice of words.
Following are some tips for parents on how to communicate and motivate their kids for a healthy lifestyle without affecting their self-respect.
- A study suggests that overweight kids whose parents talk about healthy eating behaviours to them rather than discussing their weight and size are more likely to listen to their parent’s advice. Moreover, it is also important for both the parents to be on the same page with the same message because the last thing you want is for your teen to get conflicting messages from their parents.
- The researcher believes that teenage is a time when the majority of young people develop bad eating habits, so it’s important for parents to understand what kinds of conversations may be helpful or harmful. Self-esteem is more important for teens at this stage than any valuable advice. Make sure to be aware of your teen’s social priorities prior to having a word with them.
- Some strategies that might help kids feel better:
- Focus on family meals. Aim to have dinner together at least four nights of the week, at a table and without TV, cell phones or other distractions.
- Set a good example by making the same healthy choices you expect your children to make.
- Involve your children in planning healthy meals and snacks for the week. Visit a farmers’ market and let your teen choose a new fruit or vegetable to try, then prepare and enjoy eating it together.
- Provide positive feedback unrelated to food, body image or weight.
- Compliment your child on a job well done at school, success with their sports team or extracurricular activity.
Remember, the most important and trustworthy people for your kids in this whole world are you – Parents. So make sure they’re learning how to make the right choices by encouraging them to make their own ‘right’ choices by themselves. So, they can own it and take responsibility for their own choices.
Good Luck 😊