Parents whose children are obese have revealed the reasons why their sons and daughters are overweight in an honest online discussion.

Their confessions were prompted by a Mumsnet user.

JonesyAndTheSalad posted the question,
“Firstly, I’m not a journalist. I am a theatre practitioner.

I would like to ask what it is that has made things tricky for you and your child or children when it comes to eating.

I know it’s a highly complex subject and that’s why I’m asking.

I’ll be open about why I’m asking though. It’s because I’ve been asked to consider creating a theatre in education production around the issues.

I can and do read of course and I will be meeting with some nutritionists to learn more.

But I wanted, if possible to find out where things went wrong for people on a personal level.”

While a handful admitted that they struggle with identifying healthy choices for their children, many of the accounts were much more complex, shared Daily Mail.

Several said they’re aware their children eat too much junk food, but don’t want to ban it outright for fear of giving them a complex around food.

One mother said that out of her four children who all ate similar diets, only one was overweight. She later found out that her daughter had a chromosome disorder, which may have contributed to the issue, adding: ‘It’s very easy to judge the parents of an overweight child.’

Another user shared, “I was an overweight child, I think it was due to money, time and Ignorance. Was one of four children, parents didn’t cook from scratch it was oven/microwave convenience food. Coming from a poor family food was an easy cheap treat compared to say a day out. My mum was aware I was over weight her attempt to tackle it was to buy weight watchers branded food but a bag of crisps is a bag of crisps at end of the day.”

Applebite replied with her own story, “I can tell you why I was an overweight child. And teenager and adult, to varying degrees.

Genetics. And an unbelievably healthy mother who never allowed us snacks or chocolate or sweets meant that the second I got the chance, I binged on everything that was bad for me. She thought she was doing the right thing but it just wasn’t, or not for my personality type.

My DC will be taught that if they want to eat sweets, that’s fine, but it has to be balanced with a calorie burning exercise.”

Dogblep commented, “I was an overweight child and for us it was that all my peers were eating mountains of junk food. They were mostly slim. This was 20 years ago but I just couldn’t eat as much as others without piling on the weight. How do you restrict a child’s intake when they see all their friends eating lots? It’s very hard.”

NotAPuffin revealed, “My parents used food as an emotional tool. We were comforted with food when they fought, or deprived of dinner if we misbehaved. When I had more control of my own eating, I never stopped. They still give my children sweets if they fall and hurt themselves, which I’m trying to put a stop to, but they think I’m being ridiculous.”

beanzie99 shared, “Because food was used as a reward, and as a way to show/prove/demonstrate love. I was also made to finish everything that was on my plate, even if I was full. So that taught me not to listen to my body saying that I was full and to keep eating…”

SafeToCross reminded members, “Please consider the needs of young people who are predisposed towards developing an eating disorder (such as anorexia, which might lead to bulimia or binge eating in their later life).

Being constantly told about losing weight and obesity is not helpful in this respect. We all need to eat enough, eat regularly, and eat a variety (not too little, not too much). And, to a certain extent, we are who we are – appetites and predisposition to gain weight in our environment included. Otherwise, I think routines and cooking and not relying on the food industry are biggies.”

How do you feel about the discussion? Do you think it all comes back to genetics and how parents were raised?

Share your comments below.

Image via getty images

  • interesting to read people’s situations. it could be genetics and definately diet


  • By the time that you are an adult you are old enough to make your own decisions about food. You can’t blame everything on your parents all the time.


  • The reasons are quite complex. Every mother can only do their best – I used to give small meals and let them ask for more if they needed it. They wanted to play too much to do that.


  • We had the ‘clear your plate’ rule and none of us are overweight. I know an overweight young girl, she has overweight parents and brother, and now she has an overweight child of her own. 3 years old and he’s verging on obese. He eats what she eats, which is lots of high fat, high calorie crap. Very little fresh foods and vary rarely home cooked meals


  • When I was little if I get really upset I tended to not be very hungry. Now I tend to comfort eat. It is better for parents/ grandparents etc. to not put enough food on a child’s plate and let them ask fopr more if they are still hungry than to pile their plates up. It can be too overwhelming and the little one just doesn’t know where to start. However, if you only give them a small ot average size and don’t eat it all but want something else it is time to “stand your ground”. That is when you tell them to eat what they’ve got on their plate first, otherwise it becomes a habit after they taken 3 or 4 bites of their main meal then think they are automatically going to be given treats.


  • We have bowls with food in them and everyone has to serve themselves – a little from each bowl. Finishing everything on a plate does not teach children and adults how to listen to their bodies and their stomachs about being full.


  • Yep I hate the “finish what’s on your plate” rule too. We had that growing up & all it taught me was to ignore my body & overeat. I don’t do this at all with my kids. The rules are if you finish your plate & want more you can have more, but if you don’t finish, that’s it. So hard though when my mum & stepdad come over & try to force them to finish


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