For me, some the hardest parts of Body Positive Parenting have been dealing with outside influences. At home, I can control lots of things. I can control the messages. I can control the food. I can set the mood. But once my kids walk out the door, everything is out of my control.
Unfortunately, not every person our children will encounter will foster the same Body Positive image/atmosphere we are. They will use diet terms, suggest diets, reward with food, and do their unintentional best to derail all the hard work we have done at home.
Don’t give up, though, because we can get through this! As long as we are consistent with our message at home, it will begin to sink in and will be there in the back of our sons’ and daughters’ minds when they hear something different. If nothing else, it will make them ask questions, which is always a good thing.
This is a time to pick your battles. When I hear that they are learning the calories in/calories out formula for weight loss in Health class, I spend time explaining how that doesn’t work because bodies aren’t combustion engines and everyone is different. It was a good conversation to have at home, but I didn’t feel the need to contact the teacher.
However, when a teacher said something about it being good that my son was trying to lose weight, I took the time to explain Health At Every Size. I don’t know if it changed her behavior but I hope it gave her another perspective.
Like anything else we teach our children at home, our kids will carry with them the messages they hear regularly and see practiced at home. If we continue using the Body Positive message for ourselves, our friends, our family, and our children, it will sink in eventually. This is something we want them to carry throughout life. It’s not a fad or a flash…it’s a lifestyle.