Friday, November 23, 2007

How much do I love you? T.h..i...s M.....u......c.......h!

Examples of neglect include a parent
not showing enough affection to the child due
to preoccupation with his/her own problems,
not taking a child to the doctor when...needed
...leaving a child at home without the proper supervision.
Higher Risk Of Obesity For Children Neglected By Parents

Another form of neglect might best be described as loving your child too much. Not a healthy love that actually knows what's best for the child, and finds enough strength in that knowing to say NO!, when that is in the child's best interests.

The kind of love that leads to childhood obesity doesn't look like neglect, or anything at all like abuse. This parent wants to please the child, not upset the child by saying no, causing those great big fat tears to well up and overflow down those precious little cheeks. This parent doesn't want to stress the child with demands that might be most appropriate to the health of the little one. And, perhaps the most dangerous of all, this parent wants so much to be liked by the child that even knowing he or she is making dangerous choices doesn't provide enough strength to be firm and make the right choices for the child.

But closer examination makes it clear just how neglectful of a child's health, and abusive of his development, a parent can be, without intending to be. Baby fussing and spitting out the pacifier? No problem. A little dip in the jar of honey will change his mind. Baby's gums hurting from teething? Here's a sugary ice pop instead of a frozen teether to soothe them. Thirsty? Here's a bottle filled with iced tea or soda, instead of yucky water. Hungry? How about cookies instead of a piece of apple to carry him until your lunch is ready. Can't have her brother's school book to tear to pieces? No problem, here's a lollipop to keep her happy. Tired and cranky from shopping too long? Easy fix with a promise of ice cream. Child wants everything in the store? Here baby, have a box of candy, a bag of chips, a package of gum, a roll of life savors!

And so it goes. The problems get bigger, the solutions get bigger and baby gets bigger while everyone denies obesity and says how cute chubby babies are. Grandmom says don't worry, it's only baby fat. Wait 'til he gets moving around, running around, doing sports... oh oh... and then the child can't go to soccer without a stop for burger, fries and soda. Lost the game? Here, this sundae will cheer her up.

The unlucky children get fatter, and parents feel so sorry for them they give the children even more fattening things. Or the parent, with the best of intentions, begins to shame and humiliate the child about being overweight as a means to fix the problem...or feels guilty over causing the weight problem to begin with..or lies to the child about those mean kids calling her fat when anyone can see she's just pleasingly plump like Aunt Mary.
Or he's just big boned like Uncle Joe, who suddenly sprouted and needed all that weight just to keep some meat on his bones.

As time goes by the obesity-neglect situation becomes more obviously like the ones mentioned in the study. Parents leave the kid unsupervised and the kid eats them out of house and home. Child is ashamed to go to the doctor because of the weight and parent lets him get away with more empty promises about getting more exercise and not eating junk food from the machines at school.
A Child is Waiting,
Take aware,
Nancy Lee

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