Build Self-Esteem to Help Kids Drop Pounds

If your child is obese, they may feel the sting of comments on their size and appearance every day from classmates, coaches, teachers and even their own family. Over time, this negative feedback wears away self-esteem, making it difficult for children to make positive changes in their lives.

As a parent, you can build your child’s self-esteem with positive feedback to help them grow into a secure, healthy adult. With your encouragement, they can reach their goals, whether it’s getting an A on a test or losing five pounds.

Human beings, especially children, crave two types of attention.

  • Love and affection. You can meet this need by taking time to express your love verbally or through physical affection.
  • Approval. Praise your child when they do something good, like cleaning up without being asked. When they are teased at school or experience rejection, remind them of their good traits, like being a math whiz or showing kindness toward a sibling. Explain that weight has nothing to do with their worth.

You can’t control what others say to your child, but you can make home a place where your child feels safe and secure. When your child is home, don’t focus on their weight or comment on their need to lose weight.

Here are three ways to boost your child’s self-esteem and help the whole family lead a healthy lifestyle:

  • Make healthy living a family matter. Cook nutritious dinners and take family walks together to encourage physical activity.
  • Teach strategies for dealing with negative feedback. Ask your child to think of three things they are good at or like about themselves. Remembering those strengths when someone calls them names can serve as protective armor.
  • Express what you love about your child in notes or verbal reminders. Affirm their right to feel good about themselves.

Try these tactics at home to help children overcome insecurity and obesity. Finally, talk to your family physician to get suggestions about safe weight loss for children.

If you’re looking for a pediatrician or family doctor, visit Riley at IU Health to locate expert, compassionate care near you.

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