How we start being 'fattist' at four: Study finds children would not think of overweight person as a potential friend | Mail Online
Having children yourself, do you think this study is correct? Is it our fault as parents or is it down to society that are kids are judgemental?
Me - Kristi, 29
DD - Leia, July 5 2008
I luurrrrrve to lurk!
I think it is going to depend on the child and how they are raised. If they are surrounded by adults that treat overweight people poorly then, most likely they will treat overweight people poorly themselves. If the adults around them treat overweight people with the same kindness as others, then the child will treat overweight people with kindness.
There is no part of me that believes that my girls would know to treat an overweight person badly. I have seen my girls interact with overweight girls, and they are just excited to have a new friend to play with.
Weirdly, I was reading the article and DS came up and said that guys got a big tummy, thats silly. Which is funny cause he has a friend who is about the same size that he loves. When I asked him if he would be friends with that boy he said no, cause he was too big and is mean. Not sure if he was talking fat, or just too old to be friends with though, as he first called him a guy, not a boy.
Aside from that, I actually wonder if there is a genetic element to this prejudice. I wonder how young it actually shows up. My other thought is that these kids are right. The bigger child is more likely to be marginalized and less happy......so......food for thought anyways.
Mom to Arianna (5), Conner (3) and Trent (my baby)
I think the obesity thing is really difficult and it takes very proactive work from parents to teach children not to stigmatize those who are overweight. Its a really complicated issue when you think about it.
I'm not saying children are naturally nasty to those who are different from them, but as they grow and learn, they can be getting mixed messages. Because we tell them your health and fitness is something you have control over. If you are emphasizing the importance at home of staying healthy, I think its very easy for kids to take note of what they see as 'unhealthy'
Its just like when my kids see someone smoking. I've had my 5 year old say to me "Mom, that guy was SMOKING!"
If parents don't take the time to teach kids that you can get along with people a)regardless of why they might be overweight or b)even if they are overweight because of some poor family choices I could see how many kids might actually be judging them without even knowing it.
And it makes total sense to me that that stigmatization isn't there as much with a disabled child. In reality that is a much easier message to send to kids, because there are no choices involved in that.
Perhaps thats what it is, we are much more likely to teach compassion to children about those who are disabled. We don't teach any sort of compassion to children about those who are overweight, we talk mainly about 'fixing the problem'
Last edited by KimPossible; 05-15-2013 at 11:20 AM.
I don't know. Don't studies show that infants prefer high pitched voices? Does that mean that babies are prejudiced against males?
I feel like I've read studies where babies prefer faces that are more symmetrical to ones that are less symmetrical. Faces that are symmetrical are generally more beautiful than those that are less symmetrical, I think if I remember this right. Does that mean that babies are prejudiced against ugly people? I don't think that they are.
I'd have to think about this more. I think that in general people have a proclivity towards befriending or embracing beauty.......empathy has to be developed. It is possible that in 4 year olds it isn't developed yet ~ rather than that they HAVE developed a hatred for fat people. I think that its possible that the study is just drawing the wrong conclusion.
It also makes sense to me that in a biological way we would be drawn more to healthy, athletic people then extremely fat or extremely thin. Healthy people are more likely to aid in the survival of the group.
Mom to Arianna (5), Conner (3) and Trent (my baby)
Yet one day, out of NOWHERE, my daughter who was probably 4 or 5 at the time right out said "You're fat" to my niece. Not in a heated discussion or anything like that. They were just hanging out at the kitchen table with eachother and a few other people. I was not there when she said it but i was told about it afterwards. I was mortified. My niece (who is in her early 20s) just simply said to her afterwards "thats not a nice thing to say".
My kids have commented on someone being fat before when they were little. I think it's just that they don't understand that it is something that is taboo to say. They are not saying it to be mean just as a fact like saying the sky is blue or the grass is green.
Mom to Lee, Jake, Brandon, Rocco
Stepmom to Ryan, Regan, Braden, Baley
Granddaughters Kylie 10/18/2010 & Aleya 4/22/2013
I never consider a difference of opinion in politics, in religion, in philosopy, as a cause for withdrawing from a friend. --Thomas Jefferson
We have two very overweight girls (for their age) that live in our culdesac. The adults on my street are so much meaner to them than the kids are. One neighbor actually calls them "the fat girls" (in front of his daughter or whoever else) and doesn't like them playing at his house. My 4-year old loves to play with them (they are in 2nd and 3rd grade) and has never mentioned their weight or how they look, until the other day. They were all in our back yard and I walked out and saw a big hole in our hammock (which was already very old and somewhat starting to fall apart). I asked what happened to the hammock and Sophia said "I think Lauren broke it cause she's big" I told her that wasn't a nice thing to say, and that any of them could have broken it by rough-housing on it....but tried not to make a big deal out of it to further embarrass Lauren.
Anyway, I talked to Sophia about it after the girls left and she genuinely had no concept that calling Lauren "big" would hurt her feelings at all. Like Gloria said, to her it was just a fact like the sky being blue or the grass being green.
It's important to me that my kids know that we try to eat right, exercise, and stay healthy, but that even though being healthy is important, it is harder for some to control their weight than others. These little girls in my neighborhood are constantly playing outside, running, riding bikes, etc. Activity galore. But their parents are both very overweight and I suspect they eat badly in the home. They are almost too young to know how to "control it" themselves with no support from their parents. I feel bad for them, honestly.
Also, I know several people who are very active and healthy, but are heavier than what the general norm would consider a "healthy weight". In my family we focus on overall health rather than weight.
CARRIE and DH 7/14/07