My post earlier this week about an article in Vogue written by Dara Lynn-Weiss generated a lot of angry responses-not only in comments on the website but also acrid emails. Many people responded that the mom in the article was abusive to her daughter by embarrassing her in public about food and transferring her own weight/body image issues onto the 7 year old girl. And somehow in my blogpost they got the impression I approved of THAT part of the article.
So please bear with me while I clarify...
My post was neither a review of the article nor of the mom. I am a practicing registered dietitian. I counsel overweight children and their parents on a daily basis. And while it may be obvious to the people who commented on my post and sent me emails, many parents of overweight children can actually relate to the mom in the article. They DO feel lost and aren't quite sure what the RIGHT way is to talk to their children about the issue. In my office I spend a lot of time counseling parents WITHOUT their children present to address the issue of how to sensitively talk about getting the kids HEALTHY.
I apologize to my readers if you were under the impression I approved of the way Dara Lynn-Weiss handled her daughter's weight loss. There are much much better ways to have food/weight discussions with your children. By nature I am an upbeat, focus-on-the-positive person and I intentionally left out criticism of the mom and focused on the parts in the article that many of my patients deal with (the constant onslaught of unhealthy food offerings and criticism from others when you try to control how many unhealthy things make it into your child's tummy). No one wants to come to my office feeling pre-judged. They want help and guidance.
My OVERALL point was:
If you read that article and felt like you could relate to Dara Lynn-Weiss's struggles--whether it be your own issues with weight affecting your children or how people criticize you when you feel like you're doing what's best for your child--there are ways to handle that. I don't think you should let it "work itself out" BUT--as I stated in my list "What Can You Do?"--please please seek professional help to ensure you don't talk to your child in a DAMAGING way.
I appreciate everyone's feedback, especially the negative, because it helped me understand the shortfall between what I intended with my post and the message that actually came across. I left all comments up except for the ones that included cursing--and hope we can continue the discussion.