Dear Rhonda and Dr. Cheri,
My son is nine and he’s obese, according to his doctor.I was worried about a hereditary problem because he’s eating so much. I was told, “He needs to go to counseling,” but I thought I’d write to you both, first.
I told him many kids are much heavier and not to worry – he’s intelligent. I said,“It’s what’s on the inside that counts.”
I’m a traveling single mom. His dad is, fortunately, out of the picture.
He’s been bullied since we got divorced and he’s gained so much weight. My friend, who has an overweight daughter in his class, babysits him. I told her what he should eat, but she’s not giving him healthy foods or physical activities.
Should I make him go to a “fat camp?”
This is a difficult situation and will require a lot of positive attention from you. Tell your son that his body is so special that everything on the inside effects everything on the outside and vice versa.
- Metabolism – How strong your son’s brain, organs, muscles, and most importantly, his thoughts, feelings, and care about himself and others, all affect how his body changes his food, water, and oxygen, into energy. Eating small and nutritious meals and snacks several times a day, plus physical activity causes both the inside and outside to supply him with self-empowerment. He’ll also have better critical thinking and confidence to stand up to bullies and choose not to stay a victim.
- Behaviors and community – How your son feels loved, safe, and capable depends on how you take responsibility for the boundaries you set for him. A structured environment is imperative for him to feel you’re taking care of him. Consider changing his caregiving to one with trained, expert caregivers. The concern here has nothing to do with blame, shame, or comparisons. You provide your son with optimum mental, physical, spiritual, and emotional health. You both can benefit from counseling.
- Childhood events – Your divorce requires a trauma professional to guide him through the grieving process.
- Good sleep patterns – Good sleep contributes to your son’s health and capabilities. Sleep helps focus, concentration, and academics. Don’t allow access to electronic devices at night.
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Childhood obesity has tripled since the ’70s and one in five kids are obese.
Overweight students are first in line to be bullied. Please refrain from using “fat” as a descriptor. Parents, caregivers, and community membersneed to end bullying with civility (be caring, considerate, and have courtesy). Be your son’s example. Seek more medical advice.
Signed, Rhonda and Dr. Cheri