“Hi, I’m 16 years old and my mom is obsessed with my weight.”

Ryan McGuire/Gratisography

No no no no no no nope. Noooope. Huh-uh. [Shaking head vigorously.] This is not okay.

This post title comes from a recent reader comment, and it breaks my heart—both as a mother of two girls, and a former 16-year-old who felt the pressure to be thin in a looks-obsessed family. We are not our weight. We are not our beauty. We are not our bodies. We are…I dunno, we’re within, we’re love, we’re everything and nothing all at once.

Eating disorders and body image issues are not caused by parents. But we moms and dads do have the power to make things a little better or worse for our kids. As one of my favorite go-to eating disorder experts Ovidio Bermudez, M.D. would say, “Nature loads the gun and nurture pulls the trigger.”

Two things parents can do right now to promote Body-Positive Families and help their kids grow up sane about food and weight:

• Stop saying things about your own body or weight in front of your kid. No diet talk, no bemoaning your belly, no pointing out flaws, no fat talk, no B.S. If you can’t accept you, why should she accept herself? (Read this piece in Parents magazine for more.)

• Download the “Uniquely Me” confidence toolkit created by the self-esteem folks at Dove. It’s made especially for moms to read and do with their daughters.


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Sunny Sea Gold

About the Author

Sunny Sea Gold is a media-savvy advocate and commentator specializing in binge eating disorder, cultural obsessions around food and weight, and raising children who have a healthy body image.