Your daughter is a couch potato. Will urging her to get more exercise give her a bad body image?
Depends how the idea is presented. Start by suggesting something together: “Want to ride bikes?” If that doesn’t get Miss Lethargy off her duff, an alternative could be, “C’mon, I need your help doing laundry” or some other odious task. The key is to get the kid moving – and not to shame her by using words like “chubby.”
– Bill Hageman
Stress the health benefits, not the appearance benefits. Encourage her to join you in activities for some parent-daughter time. Look through park district programs and encourage a new activity. Make the couch unappealing by limiting TV, games, laptop time.
– Dodie Hofstetter
It’s important to try to participate in healthy habits rather than talk them to death. If you read nutrition labels and share basic information about what’s healthy, she’ll start reading the labels, too. If you take time for your own workout, and she knows it’s something you do as a basic part of taking care of yourself, she’ll get the idea that it’s important. And though she may not embrace fitness instantly, you’ve at least planted the information she needs to be a healthy adult.
– Cindy Dampier
“Focus on the internal,” said Arden Greenspan-Goldberg, a New York-based family psychotherapist who specializes in eating disorders.
The size or shape of her body doesn’t need to enter the conversation, said Greenspan-Goldberg, author of “What Do You Expect? She’s a Teenager!: A Hope and Happiness Guide for Moms with Daughters Ages 11-19” (Sourcebooks). Talk instead about how you would like to help her find some fun, new pursuits.
“You want to help her find her passion, what makes her rock and excites her,” Greenspan-Goldberg said. “If she loves music, encourage her to dance. If you have a dog, encourage her to walk the dog. Offer to go outside with her and listen to the birds. There are so many ways to help kids move and feel good about their bodies, and they’re often right under our noses.”
The key is to not present it as something she needs to correct.
“You don’t ever want her to base her esteem on how much she weighs,” said Greenspan-Goldberg. “You don’t want to reduce her to a number on the scale.”
Once she experiences how good it feels to move, she’s likely to find her own ways to keep it up.
“When you move a muscle, you change a thought,” Greenspan-Goldberg said. “She’ll feel that uptake in dopamine and serotonin, and that will lighten her mood. Soon she’ll build that foundation that movement is something that’s enjoyable, not something to get in a power struggle over.”
Have a solution? Your son said your no-Snapchat rule makes him an outcast. Should you cave? Find “The Parent ‘Hood” page on Facebook to post your parenting questions and solutions.