Post # 1
Background: My niece is 7 and her mother, my sister in law, has an eating disorder. This is not the first time my niece has picked up something from her.
Story: I bought my niece an iced tea, which is her favourite drink. However, before she drank it she began studying the label and was dismayed by how much sugar was in the can. She normally drinks water so the occasional iced tea is not going to kill her. She is a slim kid, very athletic, and she loves to play outside with her friends.
My niece told me that she would drink it but that she’d have to work out with her mom when she got home to make up for it. She also told me she didn’t have bread all week so it should be okay. I am shocked by this. When she’s a teenager she will have plenty of time to worry about being fat and inadequate. For now, she needs to worry about being a kid and having fun.
I am not saying that children shouldn’t be aware of what is healthy and what isn’t, or else they will be fat teenagers. I just don’t think they should be obsessing, counting calories, worrying about sugar content, etc. It is up to parents to provide predominately healthy meals with the occasional treat. It is not up to a little girl to worry about dieting and exercise.
My bias: I hate my sister in law. Maybe that is why I find this so objectionable, but I really don’t think it is normal. Do you know any kids like this?
Post # 3
This is not normal and I would be speaking with her father.
Post # 4
I’m on the ledge on that one. I’m diabetic, so is my mother, father and sister. I had gestational diabetes with my daughter. I teach my children healthy eating and sugar and carb content in the foods they eat. They have a very high chance at developing type II diabetes when they get older. Better to teach them young about diet control now, than when they are older and find out they are diabetic. What are the chances they will dodge that bullet? I am not full blown type II, the rest of my family is and they are on medication. I am borderline because I control mine with diet. I think its fair to teach children healthy eating habits.
Post # 5
@MrsPanda99: No, this is not normal. I didn’t even know what a calorie was when I was 7.
Post # 6
Oh, that poor little girl.
She should be taught what a proper diet is from the get go… dieting is not proper, especially not for a seven year old.
Post # 7
- Wedding: May 2014 - Madison, WI
Sounds a lot like a cousin of mine. Her mother was always giving her diet tips, diet food, everything was about her being thin. No accomplishment was celebrated as much as thin-ness. Good grades through high school did not matter if you weren’t thin enough to enjoy them. Eventually my cousin’s friends in high school (her fellow cheerleaders) reported to the school principal that they feared for her health and well being because she rarely ate and when she did she would feel the need to go running for an hour to burn it off.
The principal tried to have a strict talk with my aunt and have her take my cousin to a doctor. They pretty much ignored what everyone said and when my aunt sent my cousin off to college she sent her off with a huge box of Atkins bars and told her to watch out for the freshman fifteen.
I think you’re right to worry, habits now could continue with your niece her whole life and potentially become unhealthy. Being healthy is of course a good thing but at some point certain people can take “being healthy” to the point that it isn’t anymore…I’m not sure what you can do to help except be a good example to your niece.
Post # 8
She’s only SEVEN?!?!? What.The.FUCK.
Yeahhhhh NO this is not normal. I get being aware of what you’re eating and making healthy choices, but this is too much and way, WAY too young.
Post # 9
- Wedding: August 2015 - Backyard Forest
No, this is not okay – she obviously has some pretty serious body image issues at the age of 7! The worst part is, at her age the way kids grow is they put on weight, then grow in height. If she has huge issues with her weight already and gets a bit of chubbiness before a growth spurt and doesn’t eat… she’s going to be very malnourished. It already sounds like she is if she is watching her carbs.
Post # 10
Yeah, I am pretty sure you already know what I think about this.
Post # 11
- Wedding: November 2013 - St. Augustine Beach, FL
Dieting at that age isn’t proper but knowing the sugar content and that a lot of sugar is bad for you isn’t terrible. The bread comment would make me more upset because she should be learning to eat things in moderation, not cutting out entire food groups.
Post # 12
@deetroitwhat: I can take a wild guess 😉
Post # 13
There’s a big difference between teaching a child about healthy eating and teaching them to deprive themselves and/or have body issues. It sounds like this may fall into the latter category. I would talk to your DH (if it’s his sister) or you brother (if it’s his wife) about it and see what he suggests.
Post # 14
That is not normal. When I was that age I remember comparing weights at school and we were most impressed with who was heaviest, because it meant they were growing fastest. At that age being thin was not in. It sounds like your neice is on the path to having an unhealthy relationship with food.
Post # 16
Seven is very very young! Imitating behavior from parents is normal though. I guess the best thing you could would be to encourage her to like herself in her own skin, so when she grows up she will be happy with her self image.