Unfortunately, bullying happens all around the world, both physical and mental bullying. But the worst kind is the kind that comes from adults – be it relatives, strangers, or the media. Shouldn’t they know better?
I recently experienced a situation in Peru in which the aunt of a child made hurtful comments about her figure. She said the child’s mother and herself had told the child several times to stay away from candy, she was already overweight for her age, she had to lose weight and not keep gaining it. I don’t disagree that it isn’t good to eat lots of sweets, but there are different ways of telling a kid. For example, by explaining that a healthy balanced diet allows for some treats, but in excess they can cause bad teeth, diabetes, etc. Some people are just bigger than others despite a healthy diet, commenting about a kid’s body would just make it insecure. Blaming, insulting, or dissing a child is not helpful at all! By telling them they are fat, can’t control their eating, and are just gonna get bigger, you are potentially causing the child to develop an eating disorder. It might end up restraining from candy, or from food altogether (eventually), or (over)eating in secret (and purging). Especially comments from close family members stick around; I will never forget my own father saying that if I kept eating so much white bread, I would end up having thighs as big as my sister’s. Seriously!?? Bring your children up with respect and no feelings of guilt concerning food.
Of course, food is not the only thing that adults need to learn how to educate their children about, rather than blame them. Any time a child is “different”, many adults tend to point at them, similar to children, rather than try help them (e.g. work at school). Shouldn’t they know better though!?