One Mom’s Obsession Sets A Dangerous Precedent For Her Kids

Most Americans are fully aware that media of all types is biased to control our perceptions.  Advertising is fully researched to target a particular demographic, and these images and messages subconsciously influence us.

Women, in particular, seem to be targeted by media images and we judge ourselves on how the media portrays what we are “supposed” to look or feel like.

This pressure is difficult for women – especially moms who want to prevent their daughters from comparing themselves to idealized images.  Now one mom is coming under fire for perpetuating – even encouraging – a certain image in her daughters.

Café Mom reported:

British mom Nadia Udin is learning this after recently admitting that she weighs her daughter every day to keep an eye on the 6-year-old’s “puppy fat.” Although the mom claims she’s “empowering” the little girl, others think she’s setting her child up for a lifetime of body image issues. 

Udin says that she began gaining weight following the birth of her first child.  And while we all have experienced the highs and lows of our post-baby bodies, it appears Udin had become concerned with her weight to the point of it being an unhealthy obsession.

And now, she seems to be extending her own fears to her daughters.  The most disturbing part about the daily weigh-ins is that Udin started the routine after her daughter was bullied at school for being called “chubby.”  Standing up to bullies is certainly not about changing yourself because of their taunts.

Café Mom continued:

So when her 6-year-old daughter Shifaria started getting bullied by her classmates for being “chubby,” she started weighing her every day too. 

The mom explained that this was her way of helping since she had no control over what other kids said to her child. “Instead I preferred to help her with her weight and self-esteem,” she wrote. “When those children said she was chubby, I reassured her that she wasn’t and I always tell her she is beautiful. But, practically, by weighing her I am keeping an eye on her puppy fat.”

Udin did the same thing with her firstborn, 10-year-old Iman, when she gained a bit of weight. “Iman never minded being weighed,” she wrote. “If anything she has helped me ensure that Shifaria is okay about being weighed daily, too.”

This obsession is highly disturbing.  Young girls have enough pressure from television, film, and magazine advertising to be thin or to have the “perfect” physical appearance.  Having a parent who also encourages an unhealthy fear of weight gain is likely to increase issues of low self-esteem in these girls.

And a child who is bullied should not be given the impression that it is their fault.  Udin says she cannot change what other kids say, so she feels she should change her daughter’s weight to stop the bullies’ attacks – thus giving them the power.

It is incredibly destructive to have a parent “agree” with a bully’s opinion and try to change a child to fit a certain mold.  Udin should be encouraging her daughter to be confident in her own skin and focus on all the great qualities that make her who she is.

Café Mom continued:

Udin defended her position, saying that her daily weigh-ins with her kids are “a very fun thing.” “If you was to ask her, does your mom weigh you in every day, she’d probably say ‘I don’t know what you’re talking about,'” she said. 

“If she does put on weight, what’s the consequence?” asked host Rylan Clark-Neal. “The consequences are that I’m doing something wrong because I’m feeding her.”

Did this mother actually say that she would be doing something wrong by feeding her daughter because she has a normal amount of “baby fat?”

It is likely impossible that these girls will grow up with a positive self-image.  How could they when their own mother obsessively weighs them each day?

Behaviors like calorie counting and daily weigh-ins are not recommended for children unless they have some kind of medical disorder.  Experts agree that this can only lead to problems down the road.

The Guardian reported on the opinion of education consultants, Nicky Hutchinson and Chris Calland, who hold body image classes for children:

“What children really need to grow up controlling their weight is self-esteem and also lots of love and … not focusing too much on their appearance,” [Hutchinson} added. 

“The more we looked into it, the more we discovered what a problem it was. By the age of 10, around a third of all girls, and 22% of boys, say how their bodies look is their number one worry. And 10 is also the average age when children start dieting.”

“So much is affected by how you feel about your body – your ability to enjoy life, form good relationships and make the most of opportunities,” says Calland. “But all the indicators are that the current population of young people have lower body confidence than ever before – and that’s borne out by the rising numbers of youngsters with eating disorders and serious anxieties about their appearance.”

This mother’s obsession with her own weight and her self-image issues will sadly lead her daughters down the same path.

While body image is not just an issue for young girls, they are the demographic most affected by eating disorders and low self-esteem about their appearances.

Hopefully, this mom will realize before it’s too late that she should be celebrating her daughters’ special qualities and not placing so much emphasis on their weight.

What do you think of this mom’s daily weigh-in ritual for her girls?  Leave us your thoughts in the comments.



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