"I Am Keeping An Eye On Her Puppy Fat": Mom Weighs Her 6-Year-Old Daughter Every Day, Gets Slammed For Hurting The Girl's Self-Image
Many people, especially young girls, struggle with body image issues. In many cases, these problems can be traced to childhood trauma, such as being constantly bullied at school. Sometimes, however, a well-meaning parent may inadvertently do something that can lead to serious psychological problems in the child's later years.
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A mom weighs her six-year-old daughter daily, says it “empowers her”
Nadia Udin, a mom-of-three living in Buckhurst Hill, loves her 6-year-old daughter Shifaria dearly. Every day, she tells her girl how beautiful she is, and she also weighs her. Every day.
Kids at school started calling Shifaria “chubby,” and for Nadia, weighing her daughter all the time is a way of monitoring her health. The mom wrote:
When those children said she was chubby, I reassured her that she wasn’t and I always tell her she is beautiful. But, practically, by weighing her I am keeping an eye on her puppy fat.
Actually, weigh-ins are something of a family ritual – Nadia herself, her husband, and their elder daughter, Iman, also weigh themselves daily.
Nadia stressed that the issue is not about weight, but about healthy eating:
I’m mindful not to make it an issue about ‘weight’ though. Instead we focus on healthy lifestyle eating choices.
The mom says the whole family eats healthily, with occasional treats. She claims the weigh-ins are totally normal and aren’t hurting her daughter in any way:
This isn’t about shaming my daughter it is about empowering her for the future.
We all jump on the scales together. It’s a family thing. Scales aren’t the enemy. Allowing your kids to get overweight is.
When Nadia appeared on the British talk show This Morning and explained her practice, Deanne Jade, a psychologist specializing in eating disorders, expressed concern that constant weigh-ins and obsession with numbers could be setting the girl up for mental health problems in the future. She went on to explain what children really need for good mental health:
What children really need to grow up controlling their weight is self-esteem, so that means dealing with bullies appropriately, and also lots of love, and just rewarding them for other things, not their appearance.
How people reacted
The mom was harshly criticized online for the practice of weighing her young child all the time. People in the comments almost unanimously agreed that this kind of weight-watching was unhealthy and damaging. Here’s what some of them wrote:
This is child abuse, completely wrong on many levels. This woman is appalling !!— Delphine G. #BeMoreGlobal 🌍 (@DelphineInfo) April 5, 2018
Why are social services not involved with this terrible mother it's a form of abuse disgusting— Kerry Goodwin (@Kerry_goodwin1) April 5, 2018
As someone who has suffered from an eating disorder for the last 15 years I’m disgusted a parent would weigh their 6 year old child everyday. Children shouldn’t be exposed to something that can be so damaging. Children should not have to feel like their worth is based on a number— Charlie Rowland (@CharlieRowlan19) April 5, 2018
Great way to help your child develop a eating disorder. Use some common sense. Feed them right, allow the odd treat and keep them active. 6 kids all eat healthy and have great but most importantly they are all active .— 💫mouthy manc💫 (@mummy_manc) April 5, 2018
IMO it's the mum who has the issues NOT the little girl!! 😠😦— Smee (@SharonGodfrey7) April 5, 2018
However, some agreed with the mom:
Love this woman on #ThisMorning she’s got all the right intentions of wanting healthy kids not overweight. I was brought up the same and never had any problems with my weight or teeth. I have my parents to thank for that and will raise my kids the same.— Jade Atkinson (@JadeLouiseAtkin) April 5, 2018
What an expert on 'The Doctors' had to say
The mom’s weird practice was discussed on the popular medical show The Doctors. The experts on the panel were in agreement that weighing a child daily can lead to long-term negative psychological consequences.
Psychotherapist Dr. Mike Dow said:
Anxiety disorders and even eating disorders are contagious. So we look at research and we see that when a parent has an eating disorder or an anxiety disorder, this is the mom’s issue – this is not the child’s issue. So the mom has this untreated anxiety disorder and she’s actually giving it to this child.
We hope the mom actually saw some of the reactions and changed her ways. It would be the best thing for her daughter’s sense of self-worth in the long run.