As the father of a 6 year-old daughter, I understand that they can be somewhat irrational. However, I am blessed that my Thing 1 is a healthy and well-adjusted young woman. That was not the case for one UK 6 year-old with a weight problem who found herself barred from playing on a trampoline.
Teased at school, anxious to look like the slim girls she saw on television, the seven stone youngster, who is 3ft 6in tall, rushed into her mother’s kitchen and seized the biggest carving knife she could find.
‘I want to cut the fat off me so I can be slim and go on the trampoline,’ she cried.
‘You can’t imagine what it was like,’ said Tanya’s mother Kerry Cozens, 28, yesterday. ‘I was on the phone and she was standing there in the front room with the knife.
‘She pushed it into her arm and it had made a dent before I managed to stop her.
She didn’t really understand the impact of what she was attempting. She wasn’t wanting to hurt herself, rather she simply wanted to be thin so she could play.
“‘She is only six and when she put the carving knife to her flesh she didn’t understand the implications of what she was doing.
‘She told me she was not trying to hurt herself – she was trying to “fix” herself like the people in plastic surgery documentaries.
‘I became hysterical and we were both sobbing loudly. You can’t imagine what it’s like to hear that from one of your children. I was shaking and utterly terrified.
‘I explained that she would have badly hurt herself but all she thinks about is her weight and how unhappy it makes her.
‘She is surrounded by children’s TV presenters and pop stars who are skinny and says all her friends care about being thin too.”
This isn’t really a knife issue. Like most cases of tool misuse – be it guns or knives, it is a mental health one. At least in this case there isn’t a sign that people are blaming the knife. We are thankful that the girl was unsuccessful in following through with her idea. Here is to hoping that she gets both the psychological help she needs as well as being taught the proper way to go about weight loss.
I am pleased that my children almost never seem to slow down. They are always running and they seem to have inherited my wife and my lankier than average physiques. My wife is 6′ tall, I am 6’5″. Thing 1 is the height of most 3rd and 4th graders.
This is a double-edged sword. Girls get teased because they are tall. It hasn’t happened yet, but it is incumbent on me to teach her to be proud of herself and her body. She has played soccer and Tball, because it is my hope that she will come to see her physical traits as assets and that she will develop the sort of self-confidence that will allow her to either ignore or stand up to those who would disparage her. It is one of the most important things I can do as a Father.