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Some advice please

I have 2 SD, one is 12 and one is 8. My 12 yr old is tall and very slim yet she refuses to wear shorts because she feels her legs are gross. She has long legs and is tan. She has beautiful legs and I try to encourage her to wear shorts especially because its been so hot. My 8 yr old thinks she is fat. She is a little girl and I don't think she is fat at all. When I talk to them about they're feelings, they say that their mom says it too. I think they are way too young to be feeling this way about their bodies. Should I be concerned or is it normal? I have talked to DH and he doesn't really know what to do. I have a good relationship with BM and we have always been able to talk about the kids and what we can do to resolve issues. I feel this is a very sensitive issue and not really sure if I should address it with her or leave it alone considering that she tells them things. Should I address it or not? DH doesn't hear the comments as much as I do because they normally only say something when its just me. 
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BFP#2 2/18/10 missed mc 3/31/10


BFP#3 8/9/10 mc 8/20/[email protected] weeks


BFP#4 2/3/11
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Re: Some advice please

  • Sue_sueSue_sue member
    5 Love Its

    I would address this directly; in the kindest and firmest way possible. "You are not fat; you are a beautiful girl and I won't stand for anyone saying mean things about you, including yourself". Or "anyone who says you're fat/have ugly legs must be blind/being mean; and I won't listen to you or anyone else who says such things about you". Said in a robust, firm, yet smiling way.  Don't go on and on about it; but do not permit them to say such things unopposed; and don't let them go on and on about it.

    If they tell you other people have told them this, say "Well, they don't see what I see in you" or "some people have such pain in their hearts, they have to cause it in others"; that kind of thing.

    And then get them shorts/pretty things to wear; take them shopping to find them age appropriate, pretty things. How awful of their mother to say this to them; I cannot imagine.

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  • Do you mean that their mother is telling them that they are fat, or they have heard their mother say those things about herself and then they then relate those comments to themselves?

     

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  • image Cuardraro:

    Do you mean that their mother is telling them that they are fat, or they have heard their mother say those things about herself and then they then relate those comments to themselves?

     

    If this is the case, ditto sue sue 100%.  They need to hear some different views.

    I know someone, who really isn't in my life anymore, who I fear will instill body image issues in her DD.  It pains me that parents do this.  I've heard of parent who put their babies and toddlers on "diets" because they feel they are too "fat".  Just having watched my child lost a lot of weight and have flappy upper arms- this attitude PAINS me. (ETA: his weight loss is due to a medical issue, but still the point remains- the weight loss really scared me, and it can lead to other issues.  I really feel that parents who instill body image issues in their kids can cause a HUGE disservice to them.)

    If you want to talk to the mom--  I would try to find a VERY "non pointing finger way" to do it.  "Hey - I 'm concerned.  The girls have been making X comments about themselves.  I know that peer pressure is such a factor theses days- so this really concerns me.  Girls this young jsut should not be feeling this way....."

    Don't make it about her, but tell her what they are saying and HOPEFULLY she'll realize it's coming from her.


    Good luck, and good for you for being worried.

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  • image EastCoastBride:
    image Cuardraro:

    Do you mean that their mother is telling them that they are fat, or they have heard their mother say those things about herself and then they then relate those comments to themselves?

     

    If this is the case, ditto sue sue 100%.  They need to hear some different views.

    I know someone, who really isn't in my life anymore, who I fear will instill body image issues in her DD.  It pains me that parents do this.  I've heard of parent who put their babies and toddlers on "diets" because they feel they are too "fat".  Just having watched my child lost a lot of weight and have flappy upper arms- this attitude PAINS me.

    If you want to talk to the mom--  I would try to find a VERY "non pointing finger way" to do it.  "Hey - I 'm concerned.  The girls have been making X comments about themselves.  I know that peer pressure is such a factor theses days- so this really concerns me.  Girls this young jsut should not be feeling this way....."

    Don't make it about her, but tell her what they are saying and HOPEFULLY she'll realize it's coming from her.


    Good luck, and good for you for being worried.

    Ditto this post.  And if the girls are still telling you that their mom is saying these things after you talk to her, I would have DH sit down and have a very pointed discussion with her.

  • They probably picked it up from hearing her say it about herself.  Your DH needs to have a talk to her about how it's negatively hurting the girls.  Although, since she thinks that way, she probably thinks it's good for the girls to learn it from her.  Sad

    My friends daughter picked up that kind of attitude whenever she visited her dad and stepmom.  At 5 years old, she came home saying she had to get on the scale, naked, every morning to make sure she wasn't fat.  The stepmother was anorexic. 

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  • Somebody's told each of them something negative about their bodies -- their mother -- and now they believe it. A shame.
  • Good advice has been given already.  I also would advise- if you don't already- sprinkling in comments like, "That color shirt brings out your eyes!" or "Your new jeans look great on you," or whatever in general, without it being a clear or obvious reaction to trying to combat any idea that she's ugly.  It can make the difference between the child thinking, "She's just saying that so I won't think I'm ugly," or thinking "She's saying that because it's true."

    I don't really wear shorts outside the house- it started because I, as a teenager, thought my legs looked weird, and as I got older, I realized that the shorts that fit my waist/ hip didn't usually hit at the right length, and that's why I didn't like the way they looked on me.  When I wore skirts, though, I felt fabulous.  If someone had really pushed me to wear shorts when I was a teen, I probably would have dug in my heels more, but a tack like, "When it gets hot like this I worry about you getting too hot in pants.  Let's go try on some skirts or shorts so you have some cooler options too." I would have been happy for a shopping trip and probably walked off with several things that made me happy.  Just another idea.

  • I agree with all the comments. One thing though, don't force the 12 year old to wear shorts. In fact, just drop in completely. If she's not comfortable, it will make her feel even worse and will just amplify the feelings.
  • Don't forget that 12 is an awkward age.  She may feel uncomfortable about showing that much of her body right now.

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  • It's a shame, but it is not too early for BDD or disordered eating to start.  Don't expect an instant fix here...it will take quite some time to counter these feelings they are having.

    I agree with dropping all talk of shorts.   Keep things positive. If it looks as though they are not able to shake these thoughts and their eating becomes a problem, consider counseling.  Also know that some people who are prone to EDs can leave the behavior behind, but slip back into it during times of stress (when they may feel the need for control).

     

    Good luck...such a tough situation when you're the step-mom.

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