11 year old & her parents asking/pressuring me to help her lose weight. I'm very uncomfortable



  • Hoppymom
    Hoppymom Posts: 1,158 Member
    I think that I would tell the girl that I could help her but they need to include mom and dad in the process because they are her parents and this is about her health. I agree that the pediatrician needs to know that she is concerned about her weight. Parents need to buy into all you are teaching though. A calories is a calorie no matter what they believe. I teach my preschool students that there are healthy foods and "once in a while" foods. Nothing should be denied, especially at age 11. I think she is old enough to learn about food labels and portion control. I would tell her that dieting is not what you do but that you have chosen to learn about good health and nutrition and that you sometimes weight things to stay aware of what that portion is. Mom and dad NEED to be a part of that discussion and maybe a separate one beforehand. It is possible they have no idea what or how to teach their child about this and are leaning on you because you are seen as having the knowledge to share. I am upset that they feel that blackmail is appropriate though. I'd work more on getting and keeping her active. Good luck.
  • spiriteagle99
    spiriteagle99 Posts: 3,455 Member
    I see so many obese children these days. In most cases their parents are also obese, so I can understand. Kids learn eating habits at home. Cupboards full of chips and cookies will get eaten. Since you already fix many of her meals and snacks and spend most of the day with her, you are actually in a good position to help her make better choices. She has asked for help in losing weight so you wouldn't be interfering or pushing her into something she doesn't want. Emphasize healthy choices and encourage physical activity, and show her appropriate serving sizes - and keep on listening to her.

  • animatorswearbras
    animatorswearbras Posts: 1,001 Member
    edited July 2017
    They are (edit: both emotionally and financially) blackmailing you and this is not on and quite frankly disgusting, fair enough if they just asked because they were exploring avenues to help their daughter but the threat of taking away work if you refuse to intervene is appalling especially after 5 years of service.

    Tell them you would feel much better if they arranged an appointment with their pediatrician first, I'm assuming you are not trained in childhood nutrition and you would be frightened you might do harm as she's quite young, also if they feel she's eating outside of her meals they need to take some control and get rid of snacks in the house if she has easy access and maybe do more physical activities with her like bike riding, hiking, swimming or anything that will have a little girl running about and burning off some energy.

    They are the parents and this is extremely spoilt behaviour and passing on their responsibilities to you, also sending a child to a weightloss camp without attempting to broach the subject themselves and try to work through it with her will be far worse "they only know her insecurities through me so they don't want to break the trust Kayla has in me by having a talk with her that only I am supposed to know about" alot more trust and self esteem will be broken if without warning shes shoved in a weightloss camp out of the blue.

    Hope you manage to work this out, awful situation. xxx
  • EllieElla2015
    EllieElla2015 Posts: 67 Member
    I've never quoted before so sorry if this turns out formatted incorrectly!
    If you take this on (you don't have a choice, by the way, she looks up to you) you should treat this as a way of teaching her what her body needs first. Tell here about exercise, about how she is growing still and needs more food than adults, do some research with her and show here all the things you do and don't know. Don't be afraid to tell here that you're scared of being a bad influence and show her that food and body shape can be an obsession. Most kids can handle the truth, but will see though lies in a second.

    This is what worries me specifically. I feel like I don't want to be the one to introduce her to the internet world of dieting (we all know there's so much bad advice there). I don't even want her to know that she is able to find diet advice online. I'm also afraid that if nobody talks to her about she will just go online herself since she's expressed concerns to me and I'm not talking to her about It. I realize I might be overreacting because my parents were obsessive about my weight when I was growing up so I'm sensitive to it, but I don't even want to tell her that she's growing so she needs more food. I really just don't want her to think about quantity at all. I don't want to be the one to make her conscious of food quantity because that's when it (in my opinion) gets dangerous mentally. Especially at 11, I'm afraid she'll think "if I lose weight eating a little less I'll lose weight eating a lot less". But again, I'm not a parent and I'm sure you're far more experienced than I am regarding kids since you are one, so if it's worked for you it may not be as bad as I'm making it out to be.

    This whole situation is making me feel icky and I really appreciate having so many of you talking this through with me.
  • NanceePants11
    NanceePants11 Posts: 34 Member
    As an overweight child I never trusted my parents with talking about my weight issues. After reading your post I can see it from your side and kaylas.
    As others recommended, you should tell her parents to seek help from a dietician, and work from the plan they give for her. The hardest part is sticking to the diet. If kaylas parents are anything like mine, they wont understand if she breaks her plan and wont offer the kind of encouragement she needs.
    Kayla is growing up, shes not 6 years old anymore. If she can start making progress now in a healthy manner, she wont resort to any dangerous methods in the future. All you have to do is be a supporting figure, not a nutritionist.
  • EllieElla2015
    EllieElla2015 Posts: 67 Member
    [quote="ngarci11;c-40084651"All you have to do is be a supporting figure, not a nutritionist.

    This is what I'm comfortable with being too- supportive but not like some sort of authority figure regarding weight. Like making her healthy food, taking her on walks, and listening to her as another user recommended as well. That's my personal limit when it comes to involvement in her weight loss I think.
  • EllieElla2015
    EllieElla2015 Posts: 67 Member
    Oops I messed that quote up sorry!
  • Francl27
    Francl27 Posts: 26,373 Member
    Honestly, I kinda agree that it's more important at this age to teach a kid to make good choices and keep junk food as a treat than to start counting calories. There's no reason why you can't bring it up with her as you give them snacks etc. But emphasize the importance of exercise and moving too (can you take her out on a bike or for a walk after school?).

    I'd talk to the parents too about why she's so overweight - you're in charge of snacks and meals - what does she actually eat?
  • nevadavis1
    nevadavis1 Posts: 339 Member
    It doesn't sound like a good position to be in because even if you felt great about teaching a child about eating etc, you and the parents are on completely different pages in terms of how to accomplish it. I would also be nervous because knowing a little about nutrition for adults isn't precisely the same as knowing what a growing 11 year old needs to have. I mean, you could research it, I'm not trying to put you down.... It's just that if you're giving a child health advice it's got to be tailored to her age and needs which isn't the same as what's working for you in all likelihood.

    FWIW my parents were awful about my weight when I was growing up and the result was not good.
  • MegaMooseEsq
    MegaMooseEsq Posts: 3,119 Member
    But by child BMI standards, it is obese -- there is a different chart for children and teenagers.

    Good point - I do not have kids myself so I'm mostly just talking from my personal experience. That said, I would still tread lightly here. I was just about that height and weight after hitting puberty, which was right around that age. Yeah, it was on the chubbier side, but considering I maintained that height and weight into my late 20s, it was also just about where my body wanted to be.
  • janejellyroll
    janejellyroll Posts: 25,878 Member
    But by child BMI standards, it is obese -- there is a different chart for children and teenagers.

    Good point - I do not have kids myself so I'm mostly just talking from my personal experience. That said, I would still tread lightly here. I was just about that height and weight after hitting puberty, which was right around that age. Yeah, it was on the chubbier side, but considering I maintained that height and weight into my late 20s, it was also just about where my body wanted to be.

    I don't disagree about treading lightly, I was just pointing out that 130 at 5 feet is pretty large by child standards.
  • RodaRose
    RodaRose Posts: 9,574 Member
    Her parents are garbage for laying all this on you. Having said that, you can work this out so you can keep your job and help Kayla. Kayla probably spends more time with you than anyone else on the planet. She trusts you and will continue to trust you.
    Your instincts are correct -- Do not focus on the scale or the calories with her. Do be truthful with her.
  • Iheartrunning36
    Iheartrunning36 Posts: 73 Member
    edited July 2017
    Your not qualified in anyway to give nutrition and weight loss assistance to a potential pediatric client. Not sure why that is uncomfortable, because if someone asked me to play a nutritionist, or a doctor or even a pilot and it was not in the legal scope or ethical scope of what I do for a living, i would say no and it would feel like the right thing to do, right? Because you don't want me flying your plane if I don't have a pilots license, right? I wouldn't sheepishly avoid saying no, or feel uncomfortable it would be an immediate omg no, but I can find resources to help you find someone who is qualified. As a professional in anything you do, the first thing to consider is how ethical it is. You could potentially cause harm, and you certainly don't want that so the best thing you could do is encourage healthy snacks and get her outside doing activities she enjoys like maybe soccer, or playing tag. Talk with the parents about the appropriate thing to do because they will need to be educated as well by a family doctor and or nutritionist. The fact they were willing to choose you shows how little they know, and how potentially dangerous that could be. So, it is your job to do the right thing and point them in the right direction, it is your job to encourage healthy snacking and activities, so instead of watching a movie encourage a game of tag or go to the park or skating. When you feel uncomfortable the next time they ask, ask yourself, do I want to be responsible if she dies, or has a medical emergencies because of something you were not aware of or her parents? It is also illegal in some states to pose as a professional knowing that clients might not understand you are not licensed, so not only could the parents take you down in court if something were to happen, your state could take you down as well....and jail, doesn't sound like a lot of fun.
  • Chef_Barbell
    Chef_Barbell Posts: 6,647 Member
    I really hate to say this but based on what you've said there's a very good chance that they actually blame you for Kayla's weight but aren't prepared to admit it to you. You're their scapegoat and it's only a matter of time before you get blamed directly. Hopefully I'm way out in left field here.

    I'd prepare for things to escalate at some point. You're in a very tough position. I feel for this little girl.

    I wanted to say this... you articulated it better.