Letter: ”You Look Fat”

It’s a busy stressful season and there’s so much to get done.

But this doesn’t give us an excuse to say hurtful things to our children.

I was in a store this week and overheard a comment that made my blood boil.

A mother was in a rush and aside from yelling at her kids (I’m sure it wasn’t an easy day) she loudly told her child “You can’t wear that you look fat!” (And then I heard some small children repeating “You look fat. Your belly is fat.”)

I didn’t see her face or her child’s. But I imagine that the child will not forget that line and may begin to have a body image complex if she doesn’t have one already.

Stressful times make us say regretful things. But let’s make an extra effort not to destroy our children (or other family members) by saying things that will leave a negative lasting impression.

I bet everyone reading this can remember a hurtful destructive comment made to us that we turned into a belief about ourselves.

If you need to relay a message do so in a way that leaves no room to be heard as personal deficiency. Use I messages.

Remember we want to build our kids not burn them as the Karban Pesach.

A fellow parent trying to succeed thru the stresses.

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  1. 60% of kids in America will be obese or overweight by 2030. You need to stop being a snowflake and allow parents to parent their children. Maybe if we all did this, kids would be less fat!

    • Yeah, shaming a kid in public about their weight has a huge success rate in overcoming obesity.

      Actually, the Torah predates the snowflake generation, and prohibits embarrassing people in public.

    • Actually these comments make people ashamed and then tend to overeat to feel better,then get more ashamed and more fat!!! Maybe saying this type of clothing isn’t cut for example can not damage the child. Maybe complimenting a child when they choose a healthy item to eat or when they choose to engage in an active activity may bring them to make good choices and become healthy. Positive reinforcement…

  2. Especially in the last twenty years, when the incidence of eating disorders has exploded, this type of comment is a no-no! It could have been reframed, i.e.- I would like to find something that does you much more justice OR let’s try something that brings out your _ _ _ _ _; fill in the blanks.
    Anorexia or anorexia and its sister-bulimia take on a life of their own and become a life’s long battle with many stumbles.
    We can always claim – stress. There are times we SHOULD NOT embark on shopping trips because we might be minus enough time or patience. Beware of that one errant arrow that hits its mark and becomes a repeated taunt by siblings or the target herself.

    • lol, some people have thicker skin (pun really not intended).
      while if the parent can simply degrade her child, she is quite evil,
      Lets all stop trying to decide what the kid felt without knowing, and understand that different people have different styles of communication than our own.

      Oh, and who said “yelling at your child” is a problem?!
      It can be.
      But not every interaction that isnt spoken in the voice of a customer service rep is yelling.

      one can be firm and demanding with their child, if necessary.

      its a lot healthier for personal development than “calm-even-if-you-cause-me-therapy-bills” styles of parenting.

      • I would love to spend a few minutes with you in a public forum and degrade you. As your face is turning the color of the rainbow I would just poo-poo and advise you to grow a few.
        Idiot number 2 on this thread.

  3. So you decided to write a letter, post it publicly as a whining post on a forum with a thousands of readers, rather than confront the mother in the spot.

    Real hero you are.

    • I agree that she should stop whining. But it would be highly inappropriate to confront a mother in front of her children. A LOT more inappropriate than what the mother did.

    • Hi there, I’m the letter writer.
      Do you hear me whining? Really? That’s the takeaway?

      Or do you hear me horrified at someone’s shame and springboarding it to bring awareness that we all, yes me included, need to be mindful of the words we use especially to those closest to us which it is easier to be hurtful to.

      I would not confront the mother, not my place. I honestly hope I never know what she looks like as she did this from behind the dressing room curtain and I don’t want to know who she is.

      But I do hope she reads this post along with anyone else who has no problem name calling and shaming.

      I can’t change anyone. But I can bring awareness. The rest is up to them.

      Try being kind to people, you will make a positive difference in their life.

      And thanks for the compliment, I am absolutely a hero, my mother always told me so – it’s good to have others share the sentiment too. 😀🤣😊

  4. Yeah, I was that child who was constantly shamed for my weight and felt self conscious about it my whole life and always struggled and still do. It’s such a difficult nisayon and no one should ever be shamed. I hope I wasn’t that mother who was stressed and screaming as one of my children also struggles and I try so hard not to repeat past mistakes.

  5. Most ladies/girls clothing stores only sell small sizes. They’re the ones making it hard for non skinny girls/women to find proper fitting clothes. And on that note, just because you know your aunt/uncle/neighbor lost 150 pounds on Wegovy/Ozempic doesn’t mean it’s healthy for everyone to take it.
    Many fine women are amazing wives and mothers and are not a size 4.
    Stop this skinny craze and start focusing on the important things like health and Midos.
    Chag Kasher Vesame’ach!

  6. There is a wonderful pamphlet on Onaas Devarim – with real life examples that one can identify with. It is for all ages. It also has Rav Shmuel Kaminetsky’s Haskomah. It was written by Camp Agudah and reveiwed by Rabbi Yisroel Raisman. If anyone would like a copy emailed to them (at no charge), please send a request to [email protected] for the Onaas Devorim pamphlet.

  7. My husbands struggles with ADHD. His father ( a known rabbi in our community) called him a failure as he is the only son and did not live up to his fathers expectations. This was many years ago and to this day he believes it about himself and has little self esteem. Regardless if a child is overweight or has anything else they struggle with, Parents: WATCH. YOUR. WORDS.

  8. For all the naive commenters basically asking “What’s the big deal?” I was that little girl 20+ years ago, trying on an outfit at a clothing store. My mother was far more in control of herself than the mother in this story, but her vague comment and facial expression told me what I needed to know. This small comment, a blip in time, set me onto a lifelong battle with anorexia. I literally almost died from a more mild form of this story and you’re saying the letter writer is overreacting? You’re clearly blissfully unaware of 1) fat bias and dangerous attitudes about female weight in this community, and 2) how much an offhand comment from a parent affects a child forever.

    Do you prefer a fat child or a dead one?

  9. I saw something last year around this time that also horrified me. A mother was trying on a dress and her daughter around 11 years old was complimenting her how skinny she looked and the mother was insecure so the daughter was taking videos and photos to make her feel better.The mother looked like an average nice typical woman but the interaction was atrocious and leaning on a child for validation etc seemed abusive to me.The culture and immaturity I see all the time here is horrible…

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