9 08/21/2012 parenting

Is Round An Okay Shape For Kids?

Most times when I blog, I have a point.  Either I’m asking for advice, or bitching about something.  Maybe I’m relaying a story that I hope can get you guys thinking and us debating.  Sometimes I just need to vent and get something off my chest.

Today, I’m not sure of my point.  But I saw something on Friday that I can’t stop thinking about.  


We went to the amusement park on the Toronto Islands.  It was awesome until I got pooped on by a bird AGAIN.  Before we left, we went to get ice cream for the kids.  Behind us was a girl, I’d say she was ten.  She was finishing off an ice cream from a truck and standing in line ordering a second hard ice cream.  She was wearing a shirt that said, “I’m in shape.  Round is a shape.”
It’s bothering me.  I feel badly for this girl.  She was big.  She did not buy that shirt for herself, nor, I’m guessing, did she have the pocket cash for the two ice creams.  Why are her parents enabling this? Isn’t it hard enough to be a teenage girl?
Here’s where I get a bit lost in my own thoughts.  I don’t think that all girls should be the size zero, short-short wearing teens that I see every where.  I don’t.  I wasn’t.  I think we should encourage our kids to love their bodies.  But the other part of me says, no.  As long as I’m Will’s parent and in charge of food, money and clothing decisions, then it’s on me.  We will eat as healthy as possible and I’ll encourage him to stay in shape.  To  me, by enabling their daughter and saying, at ten, that it’s okay to be overweight, aren’t they setting her up for a life time of struggle with this? 
Yesterday we went to Wonderland.  We sat next to a family who were having cheeseburgers and fries.  Totally cool – so were we.  But then the mom went up to get the second round of cheeseburgers?!  This is what I mean.  No ten year old needs two cheeseburgers.  Why is this mom encouraging the overeating?  Isn’t this our job to raise healthy kids?

In my mind, Nathan in this video, his parents were likely enabling him until he decided to take back himself and get healthy.

Writing this down has cleared it up a bit for me.  I do think it’s our job to help our kids get and stay on a path to healthier living.  That shirt.  It’s the shirt that’s bothering me still though.
  • Sara

    Oh trust me – my kid eats junk food as well! I agree – it’s all balance. I think if I saw that shirt on a skinny kid eating junk food, I’d think they took it from their dad or something – and you’re right, I wouldn’t think anything of it. What an awesome summer to work on the Island – I bet he/she is loving it!

  • cdclarke5

    I saw this T shirt in Zellars a few weeks back and I admit I laughed as it was silly, I certainly didn’t over think it but then again nor did I buy it.
    I wonder if this T shirt had been on a thin child who wasn’t eating extra junk food would everyone still have a major problem with it ?
    My kids do eat junk food at times, but cetainly not every day.
    They swim all summer in a group and when snacks are brought to races/events sure they bring chips because it’s a treat for them and the other kids…also we know one of the other moms will be bringing fresh fruit…it’s all about balance.
    Without trying to offend I wonder if maybe we should step back and look at the T shirt for what it is…a silly kids T shirt with a lame joke on it……that of course is seperate to the fact some parents do over feed their kids with junk food.
    On a seperate note glad to hear you had a good day on the Island Sara, my oldest child is working there this summer and loving every minute of it.

  • akskathy

    This is a pretty common scenario in the town where I live. Not so much the t-shirt, but for sure I see kids getting way too much of the bad and not so much of the good. I am a big believer in balance. I personally have struggled with weight my entire life. When school was hard growing up my Mom was one of the misguided that would salve what ever hurt was happening with trips to Dairy Queen, I went from a relatively scrawny and unpopular (7th grade) girl to a big tub of goo in one year. I realized before my Mom that food was not the key to fixing what ever what was wrong. I starting riding my bike for hours every weekend and stopped the non stop Dairy Queen express and went back down to a size more normal for my age. I knew myself that I was already not one of the popular kids but being bigger was not any improvement to the solution. I had to figure it out myself.
    I have to say a lot of parents just don’t know what the hell they are doing (not that I am any expert myself) and their ways of dealing with an unhappy child are band aid type solutions (food). It is cheaper to buy a bunch of bags of cheap chips and see your kid happy than to take them out for a walk in the park and actually talk to them about what ever is wrong. Many parents do not have the time or inclination to actually guide their child. I know mine really had no clue and they loved me and they thought what they were doing was kind.
    But I agree, that t-shirt is pretty messed up.

  • Christine

    I always tell my kids “Let it hit your belly before you get more”
    They ask for more before they even swallow their first helping. Wait 5 minutes then you probably won’t feel hungry.
    My 11yr old is constantly wanting more or bigger when I treat them to McD’s – a double cheeseburger. A large fry. A large pop. Nuh-uh…
    My kids do eat their fair share of crap, but they are also very good eaters (well, 2 out of 3) – YES SARA – kale chips!! Cam and Eva would just as soon eat a veggie platter than a bowl of chips.
    Everything in moderation.
    I totally agree with Jason about the tshirt being defiant. I think he hit the nail on the head.

  • Allison

    I’ve struggled with my weight all my life, but I think my childhood struggles were due to a combination of factors including general health issues and a lack of exercise. I never EVER remember my parents getting us two of anything, especially things like cheeseburgers and ice cream. If anything, they did what they could to help me lose weight. It’s hard enough being an overweight kid. Why parents would enable it is beyond me.

  • Sonja

    Well, shouldn’t it be about balance? TWO ice cream cones?!? Seriously, isn’t one enough? No child should need two cones. If she’s still hungry, then get her something healthier to balance the ice cream. I’m all for treats, but I think there needs to be a balance. I can’t imagine she would even be feeling good after eating two cones.

  • Sara

    No Kale chips ever….:) No seriously you hit the nail on the head! The balance of encouraging her to eat healthy and be ok with who she is. This is I think what’s been niggling at me. I’d like to think the double ice cream and double burgs would gross me out =, even for a thin kid – but you’re right, I wonder. What made me think was mostly the shirt…followed by the kid…followed by the food choices.

  • Susannah

    I think it our responsibility to provide the healthiest lifestyle and environment we can for our children- that involves brushing their teeth, healthy food, fun play and exercise, clean water, good air, vaccinations, etc. However, it is all relative from one family to another, one family might think being vegetarian is the way to go, another may not. One might think treats in moderation, another may not. Take out, no take out, McDonald’s, no McDonald’s, kale chips, no kale chips (hehehe). These parents may or may not have been raised themselves in an health conscious family culture. Whose job is it to “teach” them- the media ( talk about bad messages there!)? the education system? Is it the food choices that made you think, or the weight? They are two totally different things. If a child was thin and eating those foods, what would you have thought? With a ten year old how to you balance encouraging her to eat healthy food and being ok with who she is? Tough topic. On the subject of logos, I saw a bumper sticker the other day that said, ” Being fat is awesome… we are harder to kidnap”. Hard to believe.

  • Jason

    I don’t get it either. It seems defiant to me. Like the parents are begging people to judge them so they can give them the finger. Great life lesson mom and dad.

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