When skinny girls think they're fat. Advice?

Imagine listening to your own child talk about not liking their own body or being worried about what they eat. Now imagine that child is 10 years old.

Mamamia reader Elaine* writes:


Recently I took my daughter and her four close friends for a birthday treat to a local milkshake bar.  While sitting at a nearby table as dictated to me by Miss-Soon-To-Be-11 I happened to listen into a snippet of their conversation and was so upset by what I heard.

The five girls, who are mainly 10, were eating their cakes and discussing how fattening and bad for them what they were eating was. Miss Dancer commented that she really shouldn’t be eating this because she had to fit into teeny tiny dance shorts and now she probably wouldn’t be able to, Miss Skinny Minny informed them all that it was going straight to their hips and they were all going to be huge and so it went on.

I was dumbfounded, not one of those girls is overweight they are all slender and beautiful, a couple even skinny skinny. Yet instead of talking about anything else and just enjoying what they were eating, they were consumed by how fattening their food was.

My daughter is beautiful, tall and slender, everyone comments to me how gorgeous she is and how great her figure is yet she is constantly worried about being fat and how fat she looks in outfits. Where she should stand tall and proud she stands slightly hunched with her arms covering her “fat stomach”. This is a child who is constantly getting compliments, gets picked to be photographed for school events etc but it makes not one bit of difference to her self esteem.

Is it my constant exercise and dieting that has influenced this in her or is it the media? But if it’s my influence how does that explain the five other girls having the same thought process? What happened to kids being happy, confident and totally without inhibitions and if it’s like this now what will it be like when these girls hit 15 and 16.

Any advice for Elaine?