A mum has given a perfect response to her daughter calling her fat.
Children don’t really have a filter. And that say-what-you-see mentality can make for some pretty awkward moments. But children are only really churning out what they’ve learnt or picked up from their friends in the playground.
So it’s important to properly explain things to them when they do blurt out something potentially hurtful. And we could all learn a thing or two from mum Allison Kimmey who after being described as ‘fat’ by her daughter decided to school her about the difference between being fat and having fat.
“My daughter called me fat today,” the self-help author and body positive parenting blogger wrote in an Instagram post.
“She was upset I made them get out of the pool and she told her brother that mama is fat. I told her to meet me upstairs so we could chat.”
“The truth is, I am not fat. No one IS fat,” the mum explained to her daughter. “It’s not something you can BE. But I do HAVE fat. We ALL have fat. It protects our muscles and our bones and keeps our bodies going by providing us energy.”
The mum then went on to explain that she and her brother also had fat, even though they each had different amounts.
“Some people have a lot, and others don’t have very much. But that doesn’t mean that one person is better than the other,” Allison continued.
She also explained that each time a tricky topic like this comes up she thinks carefully about how she is going to handle them.
“Fat is not a bad word in our house. If I shame my children for saying it then I am proving that it is an insulting word and I continue the stigma that being fat is unworthy, gross, comical and undesirable,” she continued her post.
“Since we don’t call people fat as an insult in my household, I have to assume she internalised this idea from somewhere or someone else.”
Allison says that children will pick up understandings and beliefs from friends, school, TV programmes, other parents but it’s important that when it comes to body image that they are taught to adopt an accepting attitude.
“Our children are fed ideas from every angle, you have to understand that that WILL happen: at a friends house whose parents have different values, watching a tv show or movie, overhearing someone at school- ideas about body image are already filtering through their minds,” she says.
“It is our job to continue to be the loudest, most accepting, positive and CONSISTENT voice they hear. So that it can rise above the rest.”
Allison told Cosmopolitan that this isn’t the first time she’s had to broach tricky topics with her children.
“One of the first [hard] conversations I had to have was with my daughter [was about a year ago] about not having to wear makeup in order to be pretty, or with my son that just because you can’t see your friends muscles doesn’t mean they aren’t strong.”
And the mum has some advice for other parents unsure about how to broach sensitive subjects with their children.
“I always begin by asking them what they meant by their statement or if they understand what a particular word means,” she told Cosmo.
“Usually it turns out they mean something completely different. And from there we break it apart more, I lead with questions for them and that provides an opportunity for me to help them get the answer themselves and empowers their belief system.”
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