my 7 yr old has body image issues

Diane - posted on 02/11/2010 ( 7 moms have responded )

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my 7 yr old daughter is starting to talk about wanting to loose weight she says she needs to be skinnier and she wants to be prettier etc,,,,,,,,we have tried the obvious and told her she is just great the way she is and tried to show her that her body looks the same as her other friends at school etc but she still wants to be skinnier , i dont know where this has come from and it worries me enormously has anyone dealt with this before? please help i want to make sure i dont get it wrong at this young age and wind up with a child with an eating disorder :-(

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TINA - posted on 08/28/2012

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Hi Diane,

I also have a seven year old who is starting to bring up negative comments about her body. Such as I hate my legs, they are fat, I want them to be skinny. This is not something she has learnt from home but from other girls & the media. Just yesterday while at the dentist she had pick up a magazine and I noticed how she was looking at the pitchers of young woman in their bikini's, some under weight, and thought to my self, this is why I don't buy magazines.

I had explained to my 7 year old that her legs are perfect the way they are. Because of her legs she can shuffle, do the moon walk, ride horses and so on. I had shown her a diagram of the legs skelter, pointing out how big the knee joint is & how you do not have any fat on it. Then on the thigh showing her the muscle that is needed to be able to do fun stuff and how the skin is there so as she grows there is enough to cover her growing bones. Cheers Tina

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My 8 year old daughter is having the same issues and it started a few years ago. She said the girls in her 3rd grade class are calling her a little girl. Chalk it all up to people not treating their children like children. Magazines showing nothing but "perfect" women. I show her pictures of "normal" women and the ones that are crowding magazine ads and show her the differences in skin elasticity (sp), color and bones showing. I tell her that if everyone looked the same it would be a boring world. They do have the heavier models these days but I don't think I've found a magazine with any of them in it. I will continue to talk to her about this. Hopefully we will be able to get through to these children and they will eventually shut out what "they" say at school. Unfortunately only time will tell if we succeed.

Deanna - posted on 02/13/2010

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Be positive with her and let her how pretty she is but also teach her to eat healthy. Let her know there is nothing wrong with eating but following the food guide would help her maintain her weight. This puts her in charge in a healthy way. This helped my niece. Her mom had anorexia and we were concerned she was on the same path. Teaching how to eat has really helped her stay in control properly.

Diane - posted on 02/13/2010

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thank you michelle that was really helpful, i overheard her and some friends talking at school and they were all saying similar things about themselves one said she didnt think she would ever be a ballerina because her stomache bulged out when she wore bathers,,,,,,omg its so scary to hear such young girls saying things like that, i have had a chat to the other mums and seems its a common concern so we are all going to do some positive talking with our girls and enlisting the help of the school chaplain , fingers crossed at least 6 young girls will be saved the nightmare of eating disorders.

Michelle - posted on 02/11/2010

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I would watch the shows she does and see if some of it comes from there. Also if you or other family members are talking about diets and losing weight a lot she hears that and may think she needs to loose weight as well. also if it gets worse I would talk to her doctor to see if there is anything or anyone that your daughter could go talk to about this. Good luck I wish for the best with you and your daughter.

Diane - posted on 02/11/2010

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tried to reply to you emilie but for some reason couldnt , so ill do it here, she does play and have fun like normal kids shes very normal in most ways i guess ,,,,,,i was just dumfounded when she started talking about her weight at such a young age, she isnt "chubby" she is perfectly normal and that worries me that she thinks she isnt , more so now i hear what happened to your sister, thankfully she doesnt have sisters who will tell her shes chubby its a real worry :-(

Emilie - posted on 02/11/2010

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My little sister was like that. She was always a little chubby, when she would say something we would say you're fine, or its just baby fat, don't worry about what other kids say. We thought she was fine. She is 17now ans she does have an eating disorder, she has just been diagnosed with anorexia. It is really tough to go through that. I guess when she started to loose weight she got so much positive attention and liked it so much ahe just continued to loose weight and did what she had to look good. I don't really know what to suggest, but having a body image issue at that age is not good, she needs to play and be a normal kid, she don't need to worry about looks at that age.

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