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Lynda Loveland: Scary thoughts from a six-year-old

Posted January 22

Lynda Loveland

I couldn't believe the words that came out of my daughter's mouth.

One night during dinner, I was trying to get my six-year-old to eat more. She's more of a grazer and doesn't eat much at meals. I told her she was getting thin and needed to eat more. (Growth spurt).

A little background here: My 10-year-old daughter, Campbell, is skinny just like I was. She's in the 15th percentile for weight meaning she weighs less than 85 percent of kids her age. (I think that's right.) My eight-year-old son and youngest daughter are around the 40th percentile. All three are below average in weight.

So, after I told Carys she needed to eat more, she said, "I want to be skinny like Campbell. My belly sticks out!"

I was absolutely stunned!! I quickly informed her that she didn't need to worry the least bit about her weight. I said she had a healthy body and she absolutely shouldn't cut back on food because her growing body and brain depended on it!

Negative body image for girls is a very serious issue! It's the last thing I want my first grader to worry about! We don't talk about "needing to be thin" in my house. We talk about having strong, healthy bodies.

Carys doesn't seem too worried about it anymore, but it's something I'll be keeping a very close eye on.

We, as women, are far too hard on ourselves. I would like the next generation to be a kinder, gentler one.

Lynda is the mom of three and co-host of Mix 1015. WRAL-FM's The Mix Morning Show. Find her here on Thursdays. Click here to see her Facebook page.

10 Comments

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  • gopack10 Jan 25, 9:17 p.m.

    Why are some of these comments so mean? People what is up with this?? Stop criticizing....the doctor calculates weight and percentile at each well child check and gives it to you so stop stop stop over analyzing here!

  • wildween Jan 25, 7:05 p.m.

    Apparently, it is a problem for YOU if you have to calculate a 10 year old child's weight percentile...Wait, you did that for all of your kids??

    Those poor kids...

  • YourMom Jan 25, 3:57 p.m.

    "I told her she was getting thin and needed to eat more." If your daughter was overweight would you have said "I told her she was getting fat and needed to eat less"? "We don't talk about 'needing to be thin' in my house." But you do talk about needing to NOT be thin. It sounds like you were the one who brought body image into what could have been a conversation about nutrition. It is so common to believe skinny people don't have image issues. I've just now come to terms with how skinny I am and that's after 20 years of trying to gain weight, which is in fact just as, if not more, difficult than trying to lose weight (it also costs more in time & $$$). Now I focus on nutrition and exercise and not how I look but how I feel. I hope you can teach your daughters to do the same.

  • ncprr1 Jan 23, 2:24 p.m.

    You had better get her in therapy right away. This sounds way too serious for any parent to try to handle it.

  • raleighboy524 Jan 23, 12:07 p.m.

    Mixing a child's emerging self-image with the issue of how much he or she eats is an emotional minefield. Focus on what a child eats over time not at any one meal. Don't criticize her appearance, especially in connection with food. I simply don't know what you were thinking.

  • ehhandford Jan 23, 11:40 a.m.

    After his first few weeks of Kindergarten, my six-year-old son mentioned that when he's at school, he sometimes sucks his tummy in "because it's fat" (he's tiny, not that it really makes a difference). Couldn't believe he would have this thought at such a young age. It's not just girls!

  • bpbk0525 Jan 23, 10:04 a.m.

    I have a bad habit of complaining about my weight and calling myself fat. When my daughter starting do that to herself, I realized I had to stop.

  • snowl Jan 23, 6:56 a.m.

    If she is a picky eater she could be using this as an excuse only. Don't over think this, imo. I raised a daughter who loved to eat! She was 50th percentile but her brother was 15th and skinny! Go figure!

  • mcordell Jan 22, 10:24 p.m.

    I totally agree, teaching girls while they are young is so important!

  • billmac52 Jan 22, 9:12 p.m.

    Lynda - easy for you to say. Genetically, you'll never have a weight problem