Child weight/school bullying issues – Advice please
I’m living with my my nephew and his family for a few weeks and have noticed a few eating irregularities. He’s a fit very lean 9yr old but he eats about as much as my 3yr old.
Before meals he’ll guzzle water, juice or milk and claim he’s full and only eat a fraction of his food. He hardly eats breakfast and doesn’t eat his packed lunches or any school lunches.
This evening he refused to eat, guzzled a glass of milk and while talking to him he said he was fat, had a big belly…. And all the kids at school claimed so too. Him mum and I had a heart to heart chat with him and he ate his whole bowl of food. He clearly had the capacity to First time in ages I’ve seen him eat that much and it almost brought a tear to my eye.
She’s going in to see the school tomorrow and I’ll know more later. So, any experience of this and how to address before it gets any worse?Posted 2 years ago
no experience, no expertise, but id say youve already addressed it very well so far and well done for noticing and caring.
yeah have a word with the school to keep an eye on it but id guess positive talking to the boy will help a great deal. if he says hes fat point to your own middle aged tum (if you have one that is) and say “no, THATS fat, i wish i looked like you when i was your age” etc etc etc.
praise him for finishing meals, tell him hes looking good, make it all a positive experience. good work.Posted 2 years ago
First off I am no expert.
It’s just an instinct really but I can’t help think the problem might be a little more involved than pure bullying at school. Though as a dad,I really hope I am totally wrong.
I think you’ve made a great start but if things don’t improve I would be inclined to seek some help not just confined to the school.
I wish the lad all the best and no doubt I’m way off the mark in my assumptions.Posted 2 years ago
Spotting this sort of thing early is a major WIN, I’d say
The reasons may well be complex so he could need plenty of support and discussion – WHY does he think he’s fat, what’ll he achieve by being thinner ? If he’ll tell you that honestly then it may be an easy ride but (get his folks to) watch him and keep him talking about it
If it’s not an easy ride, things like https://www.beateatingdisorders.org.uk/ might be of support initially
IANA etcPosted 2 years ago
Well done for doing what you have so far, especially in the way you have.
Eating disorders are horrible, and nipping any potential issues in the bud early and positively is hugely important.Posted 2 years ago
Yes, you must make sure the school take it seriously and advise her on what steps they’re going to take. His teacher more than likely will not be aware of this bullying as it happens in playgrounds/lunch areas etc. So they’re could be a period of monitoring.
Its unfortunately common and the school should have policies and procedures to deal with it.Posted 2 years ago
Kids say awful things to each other. Some of my friends at high school said I had fat legs and wobbly bum and I believed them despite the fact I was doing gymnastics all the time and had very low body fat. It didn’t drive me to an eating disorder so maybe other factors are at play with your nephew, but I’ve had a hang up about my weight ever since.Posted 2 years ago
All my kids were taught how to deliver a punch before they went to school. Make their nose bleed was the instruction, and black eyes if possible. It’s ok to cry, but don’t give up.
Bullying happens to every kid at some point, and the only way to stop it is to get stuck in and take the consequences of the school’s tendency to blame the victim equally.
My rule of thumb was let them hit you twice but not 3 times. Bullies rarely have another go at a kid who fights back even if the bully wins.
It’s the parents job to sort out the school after the fact. It is an assault, and the child has the right to self defence. I found explaining this to headmasters and offering to get the police involved stopped any school action against my kids.Posted 2 years ago
good griefPosted 2 years ago
Depending on your age the definition of bullying can be completely different.
It’s a complex issue because of the modern day definitions grouping everything together.
At one end you have physical acts and to be honest I’m right in with epicycle on that.
However: This doesn’t sound like that… far more about just the stupid things kids do and get obsessed with that range from teasing to just competing in whatever passing fad is going on. The issue being that after a fad goes away some children are left with deeper longer lasting issues.
How to best deal with these is IMHO down to understanding what is actually going on.
If it’s actual bullying (doesn’t sound like it) then it doesn’t matter what he changes…because the bully is going to pick something else. (until they receive a bloody nose) .. he could be chronically underweight, he could have the wrong eye colour… it’s irrelevant to the bully as its simply something to use
If its some fad then the approach is different. Based on his diet it’s almost a recipe for a swollen stomach from the milk….
My 8yr old started going on about six-packs and his weight a coupe of months ago and he started eating hardly <span style=”font-size: 0.8rem;”>anything with any nutrition… all some fad in his peer group….I don’t think any of this was bullying… just kids finding something to </span>obsess<span style=”font-size: 0.8rem;”> about. </span>
<span style=”font-size: 0.8rem;”>Some re-education (from the half-lies they are taught in school due to some kids actually being obese) on nutrition (especially concentrating on sports nutrition) and pictures of Kwashiorkor on what happens in malnutrition sorted that out. </span>
He’s got the space, he’ll destroy an adult portion and then desert… (especially after cycling) but he was refusing to eat anything with the calories he needs and only small portions of that.
He’s about average weight for his height which means given the size of his legs (which are huge from cycling) he’s really underweight. A few pictures of pro-cyclists and asking him if he thinks they are going to conform to a chart when their legs are all muscle helped.
I just had to buy new swimming trunks… and despite him generally wearing clothes for 2yrs older (as he’s tall) I had to buy swimming trunks for 2 yrs younger which is where his waist size sits and he needs a belt for all his trousers.
Putting that all together he realised that he is actually skinny but of he drinks a load of water then his belly will have to swell up… and needs to eat and as he’s very fit and does a lot of exersize he can and needs to eat a lot more than kids who are obese.
The fad seems to be over … he’s eating normally and he’s now focussed on a talent show he somehow got to the finals in… he’s got a XC race season ahead and he’s representing his house in the school gymnastics competition. (Not to mention a load of Pokemon cards which are suddenly the most important thing in the world etc.) His weight obcession has gone as more important things become current and he’s back to ordering off the adult menu when we are out.Posted 2 years ago
Thanks for the help everyone. I’m not sure it’s bullying per se either, it could be peer pressure, but he mentioned being taunted so that ratcheted it up for me.Posted 2 years ago
I’ve started a food diary for the mum and dad so we can just monitor what we can see going in him. Hopefully over the course of a few days we’ll get some meaningful information to work with.
Yeah it’s a tough call….
Taunting is a bit hard to really define especially when it’s over something obviously false.
Daft as it sounds we used to tease each other about hair-cuts … it was just something stupid we did good natured (within friends) yet actually I really hated.
You describe your nephew as a fit, very lean 9yr old so teasing him over that seems more of an in thing.
If he was overweight then it might be a different approach…. but as he isn’t it seems more lift typical kids stupidity amongst friends and peers…
I remembered another really stupid thing from my kid a few months ago… a bunch of girls were teasing him that his socks were girls socks… they weren’t anyway and I can’t even remember the reasons they gave as to why they were girls socks in their eyes but he got really upset.
I asked him why he was upset etc. then said next time to tell them he wasn’t really bothered if they were girls socks but why were they all wearing boys socks?
Given his lack of objection to the same socks now something that simple seems to have worked. I can’t really imagine trying to deal with that at the school level…(even though his mother is on the teaching staff)Posted 2 years ago
Reward success to get out of a cycle. If you eat all your dinner for a month then I’ll buy you an [insert suitable gift here]. Lots of positive praise and focus and be very straightforward about it. You want him to eat, so tell him that, praise him when he does, and reward him when he does it consistently.
Try not to make it a bigger thing than it is as this will just make it worse. As soon as school, councillors, etc, etc start getting involved then it can be self perpetuating.
That being said, seek professional and non MTB forum based help when it is needed!Posted 2 years ago
Have you had a look at his belly ?
If there is no fat on it then it’s pretty easy to demonstrate that – nothing to pinch.
If any ‘belly sticking out’ is there because of poor posture – like rounded shoulders or because he could tone up his stomach muscles – then show him how to stand correctly or do some sit ups even.
I had too much lordosis curve which caused my belly to stick out more than it should – if I stood correctly it didn’t anymore – working on my back muscles through swimming sorted that out.
If he is getting physically bullied then sign him up for judo classes – will help a lot with confidence and if a bully came at him after he was somewhat proficient he can defend himself and maybe even scare the bully without any accusation of aggression as judo is a defensive sport, whereas using your fists isn’t.
This worked very well for a friend at early secondary school – was surrounded by a gang and the main bully started pushing him around, then bang, my mate did a classic judo throw on him, using the bullies weight (who was a fair bit bigger), then pinned him down as you would in judo, for a submission, and it was all so fast and slick that none of his gang came to help him and my mate was never bullied ever again.
Plus a good judo grounding will help with his falls when out mountain biking later.Posted 2 years ago
@Turnerguy (cos quotes aren’t working)
I’d also consider what he is consuming… a glass of milk itself can be a recipe for a bloated tum.
However as Lazgoat is doing I think trying to understand this more is the first thing.
Who is doing this teasing… is it bullying or just mates ribbing each other?
Is it a fad or is it longer term?
@Hugo… yep.. I’d definitely agree with rewarding but I still think understanding the why’s is important… especially as you say this can get very out of hand when schools, councillors etc. get involved and they can tend to make a storm out of a teacup especially once something is recorded and officially raised and the cure can be worse than the symptoms.Posted 2 years ago
I’d also consider what he is consuming… a glass of milk itself can be a recipe for a bloated tum.
This was my initial thought. Clearly he enjoys food so i should just be a case of educating him on what makes a good (and balanced) diet.Posted 2 years ago
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