Childhood obesity, as most people now know, is effected by many behavioral factors. In addition to the behavioral changes that may be required by changing the way your child eats and how much physical activity they engage in every day, you must observe at other factors in their behavior, and in the behavior of the teachers, coaches, family members and friends that surround your child.
A family is the nucleus cell that we all nourish and learn from, ideally a family is supportive and encouraging, this is usually true of parents, but the issue of siblings is completely different. If oyu feel that all members of the family do not act as one, on an active support that is ongoing and loving, you will need to make sure your family meetings and talks are devoted to getting everyone behind this.
If your child is overweight or obese, they need your support more than ever! Self-esteem and confidence issues abound in overweight children. Try not to criticize them, harp on them or berate them for their weight. Let your child know he is loved and appreciated and address his weight issue with positive confidence. Do not make jokes about your child situations, this is not the place in which humor helps, do not try and place blame on the child as this will probably result in the opposite of what you want. Simply let him know that you will work on this issue together and that there is nothing ‘wrong with’ him because he is overweight.
Make sure that you have a clear picture of your child life, at school, socially and elsewhere, if he is suffering from abuse from other children, even from his friends, or is suffering a more direct aggressive bullying problems. Work on rebuilding the child confidence by focusing on what he does well and by constantly reinforcing the idea that everyone is special and everyone has problems – he is no different, no better or worse than anyone else, no matter how little confidence he may have at this time. Keep the main focus on health and not esthetics, or weight, stress the importance of health. Focus on gradual changes in your family physical activity and nutrition and allow plenty of time for everyone to adjust and to feel good about the small changes they are making.
These are huge changes you need to make and the first baby steps are crucial for you and your child to feel that it is within your power to make the change, so pay careful attention to the start, as it may prove to be the most important part, with many teenagers the first step is the most important to recover their confidence and self esteem. Setting smaller goals will also allow your child to lose weight gradually and to ‘grow into’ their additional weight as they grow in height. Some children have a lot of weight to lose and they will have longer-term goals with lots of short-term milestones to keep them motivated. For these children, you may want to consider rewards or recognition.
I hope you found this information helpful, I wish you and you family the best of luck in reducing and fighting childhood obesity.