“Perplexed” turns to Our Lady of Weight Loss and asks “How can I help my daughter? How can I restore family harmony?”
Dear Our Lady of Weight Loss ~ I have three teenage-young adult kids. They are all winners in their own ways and on track to be happy, successful people. But of course, they do have issues and need guidance.
My middle daughter needs to lose some weight – but has resisted all efforts on my part to help. She doesn’t want to go to Weight Watchers or try a planned diet. She says she is happy the way she is and asks me to cease and desist on the issue of weight.
I would be happy to let it be – but my husband pressures me to address it with her. He somehow thinks I am part of the problem – though I eat a pretty balanced diet and exercise allot. She is away at school, so I have very little control over what my daughter consumes.
I would like to wait and see and let my daughter deal – but my husband blames me and insists that I “DO SOMETHING!”
What can I do to get him off my back, her back, and restore family harmony? Do tell!
Dear Perplexed ~ May I be blunt and put it right out there? (I hear a resounding “yes.” Thank you.)
Whether your daughter ‘wants to’ lose weight or not is entirely up to her. It is her life, her journey, and it is her decision. Please note that I said that it’s about what your daughter WANTS. There was no should, have to or must in it.
Speaking in “should’s,” “must’s” and “have to’s” is a sure way of mucking up the works, creating stuck states of unhappiness with bucketfuls of feelings of blame, criticism and anxiety.
To my point, your husband thinks you “should” be in charge of your daughter’s behavior. How does that resonate with you? Does it feel like he is blaming you, criticizing you? Is it working?
I invite you, your husband and your entire family (and all who are reading this) to remove the “should’s,” “have to’s” and “must’s” from your vocabularies. Substitute the word “want” for just one week. Ask yourself what you want to do rather than what you should do, repeatedly, over and over again. At the end of the week just see what happens.
The best thing we can do as parents (as citizens, too) is to set a good example. You take care of you! Eat and serve healthful meals. Walk your 10,000 steps a day (or your form of movement). You glow! You make this the best life ever for YOU.
Focus on what is right. When you talk to your daughter, talk about what is right. Surely, telling someone that they ‘need to’ lose weight only serves to let them know that you think that there is something ‘wrong’ with them. (I speak from first-hand experience – having lived a life of chubb-e-tude. From day one someone was telling me that I ‘should’ lose weight and sadly, what a shame it was that I had a pretty face, which only led me to shamefully eat yet another candy bar.)
As for your husband, I am wondering what does it mean to him that your daughter – to his standards – is carrying around a few extra pounds? What stands in his way of communicating directly with your daughter? What stops you from communicating your wants to your husband? As in, “Honey, I would appreciate your leaving me out of this unhealthy triangle. Our daughter is free to create the life she wants.” You certainly do not have to do what he tells you to do. End of story.
Be accepting, be compassionate, be healthy, be open … practice loving-kindness.
As Ghandi said, “Be the change you want to see in the world.” ~ OLofWL
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