Tuesday, January 8, 2013

My 3-Year-Old Son Used the “F” Word

The word is probably not what you are thinking, but nonetheless, it appalled me. Where did he learn to use the word “fat?”

I was watching a Discovery Health show about a 600-pound mom while my son was playing in the floor. He looked up at the television and said, “Wow. She’s really big. She’s fat.” Aack. My first reaction was to tell him, “Yes, she is big, but it’s not nice to say that someone is ‘fat’. It can hurt their feelings.”

I had been so very careful when raising my older daughter to never use that word when referring to anyone, and I scolded family members who did use the word in front of her. I never wanted her to judge anyone by their appearance or worry that someone may use that word to describe her appearance. People rarely use that word to describe someone they like, so it is not a word in our vocabulary.

So have I become more lax? Do I need to reinforce my expectations with caregivers and family who are with my kids? I was not ready to have this conversation with my son, but I guess it could have been worse.

My inquisitive boy began to ask more questions. “How did she get like that?”

“She ate too much food, and food that was not healthy for her,” I replied.

Then I was able to turn it into a conversation about what is healthy food.

“What types of food are good for you?” He said he thought Craisins, milk and nuts were good for him.

“What are types of bad food?” He said pizza and candy. Then he sat there a minute and asked, “Then why do you let me eat pizza?” Great, he turned it around on me.

“Well, I don’t let you eat pizza all the time, and I don’t let you eat a lot of it.” Thank goodness that was the end of the talk, but I know it will come up again. In fact, this morning he informed me that his current cereal of choice was not healthy. I have decided not to share it because I don’t know if I want anyone to know that I purchased it.

In the end, I am still sad that he learned what the word means and felt the need to use it. The good news, however, is that this was one more opportunity for us to talk about healthy eating, and I’m proud that my preschooler is thinking about it. I praise God every day that I was blessed with good eaters and we have no food allergies in my house. I also praise God that I am able to set good examples for them and provide the food they need.

But my mission is now to find the culprit who taught him that awful 3-letter word and give them a lecture about loving others and themselves.
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