Children: Teasing And Bullying
For children, being overweight can be especially devastating, and for those who grow into obese adults those feelings get carried over to adulthood further aggravating an already vulnerable emotional state.
The adult prejudices and overt attitudes towards the overweight is minimal compared to how cruel kids can be.
If adults are uncomfortable around those who are obese and even go as far as to “make fun” of others who are by whispering behind their backs loud enough so ‘Fat Lisa’ can hear, imagine what children do to their obese peers.
Children and teens can be extremely cruel, with out loud school hall teasing and name calling that can beseech the obese child. This type of teasing can really a take a toll on their already fragile esteem and self-worth and lead to serious consequences for their mental and emotional well-being.
This is one of the reasons that it is so important for parents and caregivers to implement a healthy lifestyle and nutritional balance for kids from the start of life. Parents need to educate their children on the health and risk factors and to help them understand portion control and the benefit of a healthy diet.
This would ideally happen before an adolescent’s weight is deemed “out of control.” Once it’s out of control and a child’s weight has now been diagnosed as ‘obese,’ all the health, social and psychological problems that adults face are now the same ones that burden a child, but children lack the maturity or presence of mind in many cases to handle the cruelty of peers.
Let’s face it, children can be mean, which, opens up a whole host of problems that the obese child tries to cope with.
Adolescence is difficult enough without the added stress of being ‘bullied’ by peers simply because of an overweight issue, but, that is the reality.
According to The American Academy of Pediatrics website, healthychildren.org, the social stigma of childhood obesity can be devastating and lead to serious emotional heartbreak.
In fact, the social stigma, teasing and bullying related to being overweight can cause as much, if not more damage, than the medical repercussions that often accompany obesity.
This teasing causes deep seeded wounds and feelings of shame that usually carry on to adulthood and impact the child’s ability to function in a healthy manner in society.
What’s the Solution?
First and foremost overweight children need to be feel that they can talk honestly about what is going on in school with their parents. Opening lines of communication is the best way to deal with teasing and its consequences.
You can safely assume that if your child overweight or obese there has been some type of teasing, it’s just human nature.
Children need to be know from you, their parent, that the shame is not theirs, and put it where it belongs, on the culprits at school.
Speaking with the school in regards to dealing with rampant teasing is also very important because we have to deal with this issues as a society, as it has become a major problem that has led to teen suicides and can also be sourced in part to the mass amounts of school shootings that have plagued the United States as of late.
If a parent sees his or her child’s weight begin to spiral out of control that is the time to step in and offer some guidance through education regarding a healthy, low-fat diet and an exercise regimen. It’s all about lifestyle changes that will hopefully follow and stay with that child into adulthood.
The same goes for adults whose weight is out of control. Regardless if obesity is a problem at age 21 or 61 or anywhere in between, it’s never too late to incorporate a few lifestyle changes if the outcome is going to be a healthier and happier new you.
All it takes is a little determination and eventually the weight will come off and best of all stay off because now both the adult and the child have some ‘tools’ in their arsenal that they can use to combat the urge to ‘binge.’
Whatever it takes, there are people who care and there are people who if you only ask will be more than willing to help their obese friend, family member, patient, remain on that train to ‘Healthy-Town’ through education, encouragement, understanding, compassion and, best of all, love.