Diet advice in a kids’ book. Is that the best or worst idea ever?
School kids get all sorts of weekly home readers. Their variety knows no bounds. This week my son is reading about animals that live in ponds and sharing toys at a park.
However, when one child in Melbourne was sent home with a book called Mum’s Diet, his mum was far from impressed.
The book is written by children’s author Joy Cowley. Basically it shows a mum lamenting her weight and her children trying to reassure her, before telling their mum that they are sick of eating salads.
Kids who eat salads? I’m shocked.
But the mother who posted her fears on Facebook, Ivy Thompson – who runs a site called PaleoInMelbourne – was upset about something else.
“This has to be the worst reader ever???! Its called ‘Mum’s Diet’ and contains everything you need in order to create disordered and emotional eating in kids from the mere age of 7,” she wrote on her Facebook page.
“It's a pretty sad read but more than anything it highlights a culture of body-shaming, self-loathing and self-enforced low-fat, low-calorie dieting that have been so common in the last 30 years.
"Kids hear how we talk about ourselves and the food we eat. Your issues rub off onto them, and they might very well grow up with the same problems and body-image issues that haunted you.”
Facebook comments agree with Ivy and range from, "Shocking" and "I am horrified" to "What a disgusting book".
This book is not going to win any prizes, but my question is this:
What is the big deal about discussing dieting in front of children? We explain everything else to them - sex, terror, death - but if a parent goes on a diet it is suddenly shrouded in secrecy.
We've been brainwashed into believing that if children see parents dieting, they'll develop eating disorders or poor body image. It should be empowering.