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solutions.therapist, Family Counselor
Category: Parenting
Satisfied Customers: 19
Experience:  LPC Certified School Coun. Adolescent stages of development,
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Looking for some advice in working with my daughter. She is

Customer Question

Looking for some advice in working with my daughter. She is 16, overweight, and I am unable to find anything to motivate her to become healthier. I am concerned about her health and the way some other kids are treating her.


It looks like someone tried to message me - but when I log on here, there is no response?

Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Parenting
Expert:  Josie-Mod replied 4 years ago.

I'm Josie and I'm a moderator for this topic.

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Customer: replied 4 years ago.

I still really need help - so lost as to what to do

Expert:  Josie-Mod replied 4 years ago.

Thank you, we will continue to look for a professional to assist you. Please let me know if I can be of any further assistance while you wait.

Expert:  solutions.therapist replied 4 years ago.
Is it possible that there may be underlying concerns that contribute to low self-esteem?
Or do you feel her weight is maybe a cause for low self-esteem?
Do you feel she does have low self esteem?
I need a little more information about your daughter.
Kids can be very mean to each other. Many times you find the victim learns to cope by becoming the humorous child, the one who jokes. At times you find them withdrawn and timid. Let me know more about your daughter..... I'd love to help if I can.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Sorry for the delay!


Not a low self-esteem issue as I understand the term. She has a rather high opinion of herself and insists that she shouldn't have to conform to other people or societies what is "normal"... does that make sense. She knows she is bigger that most.


She wants a boyfriend and the things the other girls are doing. Without being blunt and saying that no boy is going to look twice at her in a romantic way - I've used the comparison of the boys that she thinks are attractive, then I told her that she isn't attracted to Ralphie May (comedian that is very large) - she agrees, but says she might like him once she got to know him (arrrggghhh) - and I reminded her that she wouldn't take the time to get to know him because so many things are decided in her mind at first sight, physical attraction, etc.


She has friends at school - but it isn't something that is going outside of school. I have tried to get her to just move when she is home; come help me in the yard, can you vacuum for me, etc. She can actually sit, in front of her computer, or a tv, or a book - for HOURS, upon HOURS.


At one point I had rewards on the table.... I'm just at the end of my rope. She is not healthy and the next stop is a doctor, but I'm hoping I can jump start something here.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Relist: No answer yet.
I sent a response into the first person who answered, and never heard back?
Expert:  cathy replied 4 years ago.
Hi, and thanks for writing JA. And before I write just let me say, I have no idea if this will help you or not, but here goes........I have treated several girls who fall into the category you appear to be describing and what I have usually found (not always but usually) is that the line......."I am perfect the way I am and society can just go to heck in a handcart" is a defense. I think young women who are overweight deal with the weight issues a few ways, but yes all ways are indications of low self esteem and absolute frustration because losing weight is so so very hard.
It sounds to me as if your daughter has taken the stance of....."well I cannot lose this weight, so lemme just defend and that will be it" which makes it exceptionally hard for you to confront her, because she well be overweight, but at the same time this is one smart cookie. She is very very smart.
So try this and let me know how it goes...........back off on the weight issue and do what I call "back door" which is to say that you remind her every day "yes every day" how very smart she is and how caring and empathic she is and then ask her where she would like to be in
five years?
ten years?
and never say, no matter what she replies
"Well you cannot get there as much as you weigh"
Just help her to picture her future and then give her feedback
do not remind her of her weight, just give her feedback on what it might take for her to get where she wishes to go
and try this for a few weeks and then write us back and let us know how it goes...........
I always wait for the child to tell me (in my practice) that she is too overweight to reach her goals and dreams and THEN and only then I address the weight. I hate saying this but sometimes we have to be a little indirect when it comes to such sensitive issues. Your daughter sounds as if she is one very smart child with a very sophisticated defense and she "works" this well. Deep down, she does not like her weight at all, but no way to address this without hurting her. Often parents chide and ridicule which turns and overweight child into an eating disordered child, but you seem to be the kind of parent who knows so much better and know of we course we know where your daughter got her smarts and became as sophisticated as she is.
Try this for a few weeks and then give us a note back. I think it will work, it usually does work.....and I admire your parenting style a lot. Warm regards on such a very sensitive issue. Cathy
Customer: replied 4 years ago.



Thank you so much for your reply.


On day two of your plan. Crossing all of our fingers. I'm also starting to back way off on doing things for, a little does of real world responsibilities.


Can we leave this "open" for now?

Expert:  solutions.therapist replied 4 years ago.
Cathy, Thanks for replying while I was out. I agree with Cathy. It is a defense. She will have to be the one to address it and tackle it head on. She doesn't need to be told or reminded, she knows. Indirect is a great approach with intelligent young ladies. Keep us posted, best of luck.