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How To Talk About Weight Gain in 9 Year Old?

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
My daughter is nine, and has always been a skinny girl. This past year she has gained about 13 pounds, and although she doesn't look overweight or anything, she will talk about her gut hanging out and her thighs. I don't know how to talk to her about this, or if I just leave it alone completely? I want her to be comfortable with how she looks, but I also want her to know that how much she eats witll affect her weight, kwim?

She eats so fast and alot! I make 95% of our foods from scratch, and always make sure they stay active. Is this normal at her age to gain weight quickly? Any advice would be wonderful!
post #2 of 13
The exact age varies a lot, but spurts of weight gain in the preteen and early teen years aren't uncommon. They're kind of like the way toddlers will chunk up, then grow up, then chunk up, then grow out.

DS1 is very slim. The only time I've ever seen anything resembling a belly on him was when he was about 12...and he got a bit of a belly - right before he grew about 6" in just under 6 months. He's never had a belly again.

If your dd weren't noticing her weight, then I'd probably just keep an eye on it, but say nothing. Since she's making comments herself, I'd just remind her to focus on being healthy and active, and mention that she might be growing soon.
post #3 of 13
I would talk to her about slowing down when she eats. Maybe give her smaller portions, then stall a minute before serving her an even smaller portion.

She's noticing her weight gain, so it's obvious that she's thinking about it. You can't act like it doesn't exist.

I know many kids go through the "chubby" pre-teen stage. All kids go through it at different times. I remember when my daughter was in fifth grade, about half her grade came back from summer looking quite chunky. LOL. I was surprised. But, by sixth grade, they were just gangly and goofy looking. So, they have that funky growth spurt. I crack up every time I look at the yearbook from their seventh grade year. Such an awkward stage.
post #4 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sydnee View Post
I want her to be comfortable with how she looks, but I also want her to know that how much she eats witll affect her weight, kwim?
If you are living in North America, there is such an emphasis in the media and society on dieting that I doubt there is one person over the age of 5 on the continent that is not aware that how much they eat will affect their weight. So I wouldn't worry that she does not know about that.
post #5 of 13
Have you started to talk about puberty, etc., or does it seem too early for you? I ask because it's a good time to talk about how her body is doing what it's supposed to be doing right now. I know that my dd was fairly reassured as we read and talked together about what was happening, and why it was happening.

I can't help recommending that you read through some of the threads about food on this forum as well! Huge appetites, varied tastes, experimentation with foods-it's all here.
post #6 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sydnee View Post
although she doesn't look overweight or anything, she will talk about her gut hanging out and her thighs.
I'd go for active listening and open ended questions. Why does she think her gut hangs out? Why does the size of her thighs matter? What are her thighs for? Do they work well for those things?

I wouldn't validate or squish her feelings, but I would try to get her to examine them.

Helping her develop a healthy body image would be more important to me than limiting her food. She'll get messages constantly from now on from everyone else that her body is wrong. You are about the only person on the planet who can consistantly tell her that she is wonderful just as she is.

Her body will change a lot over the next couple of years, and the more self love you can let her hold on to, the better.
post #7 of 13
Quote:
I make 95% of our foods from scratch, and always make sure they stay active. Is this normal at her age to gain weight quickly? Any advice would be wonderful!
If this is the case, I wouldn't worry about it. If she were having sodas and fast food and lots of stuff like that, then sitting inside all the time, I would say fix those things first but if she's eating healthy and active, there is no way I would mess with that. I might address the eating fast from the standpoint of having good manners but that's about it.

As someone who got a lot of "help" from adults in my life, all it made me was fat. It's possible she's making comments and hoping for you to knock them down and build up her confidence.
post #8 of 13
I know I gained quited a bit of weight in the 8-10 range as I was gearing up for puberty. I really wish my mom had explained to me that that was what was happening and that I wasn't getting fat. My hips were widening, my breasts were growing, and I was packing on extra fat as a lead up to menses. At 9, I would wonder if that's what happening with your daughter - especially if she's active and eating healthy foods.
post #9 of 13
She's right at growth-spurt age. I wouldn't sweat it, especially if she's eating healthily and is active.
post #10 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by Storm Bride View Post
The exact age varies a lot, but spurts of weight gain in the preteen and early teen years aren't uncommon. They're kind of like the way toddlers will chunk up, then grow up, then chunk up, then grow out.

.
post #11 of 13
Thread Starter 
Thank you sooo much to all of you for your reassuring words! I just don't want to "mess her up" by saying the wrong things. I know that this age is so crucial in so many ways, so I am just at a loss of what I should/shouldn't do.
post #12 of 13
I think it's OK to talk about healthy eating habits - not just eating healthy foods, but how we eat. One of my sons was consistently taking third helpings at meals, so we talked about WHY he was doing so - was it mecause his mouth wanted more, or his tummy? When he stopped to think about it, he realized he wasn't all that hingry, but it tasted good. When he started eating more slowly, taking more time to enjoy what he was eating, he ate less.

I NEVER refused him a third helping - how much he ate was his decision. But he did change the way he made that decision.

I totally agree with the others that a growth spurt is probably in your dd's near future. I have seen it with my sons and every one of their friends - a round phase followed by an inch or two of growth, and the tummy disappearing.

It sounds like you are doing a great job!
post #13 of 13
I wish to goodness my parents had told me that the weight gain at age 8/9 was to prepare for menses and growing taller. And had provided a ton of quick to get healthy food instead of leaving me to manage finding my own snacks.
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