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Dr. Z
Dr. Z, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 10643
Experience:  Psy.D. in Clinical Forensic Psychology with a background in treating severe mental illnesses.
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Hi, Dr. Z. This question isnt about Katyann at all. As I told

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Hi, Dr. Z. This question isn't about Katyann at all. As I told you before, the neighborhood kids come and play almost every afternoon. I made a new friend of one of the boy's parents because she said her son lost 18 lbs. since starting to come over. She wants to know what we're doing. I'm not the queen of tact when it comes to stating my opinions and on the flip side of that, I'm also able to be a stay at home mom so I don't really know what it's like to work and raise kids. I want to be honest with her, but we barely know each other and I can come off as "holier than thou" when I don't mean to do so. Any pointers for me?

Dr. Z :


Customer: Hi
Dr. Z :

Well i think that is great that you are helping this young child lose weight, and I think the mother is probably curious as to know why

Dr. Z :

You can mention that the child plays more with the other children because he is interacting with the other children more

Customer: It's really just a matter of having a big yard and the kids playing. He is overweight and can stand to lose more.
Customer: that's it! Even with the kids who aren't heavy, at my house, the electronic toys go in the bin until they go home and they play.
Dr. Z :

That is good, and I am assuming that he watches tv by himself and does not interact with kids his own age at his home, is that correct?

Customer: Pretty much. When he first started coming the other kids wanted to tease him or not let him play. That isn't allowed either.
Customer: the other kids have started to like him, too, because they are getting to know him as someone other than "the fat kid."
Dr. Z :

That is good, well you can tell the mother that because he interacts more and plays with the other children is probably why he is losing weight. You can suggest maybe seeking an extracurricular activity would be helpful for him to continue this process.

Customer: none of the kids were good at playing games with each other at first. They are all used to handheld games.
Customer: he's much less lonely, for sure.
Dr. Z :

So now that he interacts, plays, runs, and has fun. So you do not have to seem judgmental and say that he watches too much TV or eats too much junk food, but maybe suggest to the mother about doing extracurricular activities like sports.

Customer: he's only been coming since school started. I think he gets teased a lot on the playground and in gym.
Dr. Z :

I know, but that should not discourage him from still playing and you showed that.

Customer: how do they get him busy? He is afraid of being made fun of, he's 9, average height, but close to 100 lbs. if not more.
Customer: when he told me he wasn't fast enough to play, I told him he's faster than a kid who is still on the couch.
Dr. Z :

Well that is up their parent's discretion, you are only there to tell them how he lost the weight and that was by being active, the suggestion for extracurriculars can come from you too, but they will have to sign him up for that

Customer: Even the thinner kids aren't in great shape physically because they aren't much more active.
Dr. Z :

If he finds an activity that he is good at and helps him become more healthy it will help boost his self-confidence

Customer: that self confidence thing is a big deal with him. He's getting more, but I have zero tolerance for teasing. He's been bullied, I think.
Dr. Z :

Most likely he has been bullied and that is good that you have no tolerance for it. But eventually he will have to stand up for himself and him building up his confidence is a good start

Customer: that is also true.
Dr. Z :

I would suggest to the parents about enrolling him in a sport that he likes. It could be flag football where his size is good for it, he will get exercise, and it is safe

Customer: I worry that my suggestions like that come off as harsh.
Dr. Z :

No, it is not harsh at all. Just say that ever since he has been coming over he has been playing and running around more and more. And that you think playing a sport will be good for him as they promote exercise and can build self-confidence too

Dr. Z :

She is asking for your advice and you are just making a suggestion and not criticizing her parenting in anyway

Customer: That makes sense.
Customer: Some of the parenting things seem so obvious to me but it seems like when both parents work they get too tired to do the obvious
Dr. Z :

I know and I think this will be good for their son and not too hard for the parents. Also this can promote more social skills as he will be spending more time with his peers too

Customer: the kids also don't seem to know how to play with each other. Sometimes I feel like a real throwback expecting the kids to know how to play games
Dr. Z :

Well schools are cutting back on recess a lot, so I am not too surprised that they do not know how to play with each other.

Customer: he does lack them and in some ways it seems to me like it's easier for them to comfort him than teach him
Customer: the girls thought hopscotch was a new thing!
Dr. Z :

Haha, really? Wow!

Customer: they all play the hand held games
Dr. Z :

Well this is why extracurricular activities will be good for the children (e.g. sports, art, theater, singing, etc...)

Customer: i do want to make friends with her.
Customer: And schools have cut back on all those things.
Dr. Z :

I think you are doing a great job and she trusts you enough to ask for your opinion and suggestions too

Customer: I grew up in the country so we had to make our own games.
Dr. Z :

I was more of an athletic guy, so I always played sports

Customer: And I do have a sometimes too straight forward way of speaking to others.
Dr. Z :

Its okay, you are blunt. I think if you approach this way and instead make it sound like a suggestion that she can try with her son it will go well

Customer: I wasn't hugely athletic but still jumped rope and played ball with the others
Dr. Z :

You do not have to be hugely athletic to still get the benefits from exercise and social interaction with others

Customer: there isn't even a park with a jungle gym near here.
Customer: exactly. That's how you learn to get along, take turns, etc
Dr. Z :

Yeah, these extracurriculars are great and many of them are outside of school.

Customer: that could work. Maybe later on in the friendship we can move to foods that actually grew in the ground
Dr. Z :

Yes, but lets take it one step at a time. Lets see how she takes this suggestion first :)

Customer: you got that right!
Dr. Z :

I think you will do fine. The evidence shows that what you are doing is working :)

Customer: i enjoy having the kids around. It's not adult conversation but it's still fun.
Dr. Z :

That is good, it sounds like fun

Customer: thanks for the advice
Dr. Z :

Anytime, is there anything else I can help you with?

Customer: I don't think so. It's funny how the kids are with me. Since I'm not a parent or a teacher, and I can send them home if they give me problems, they're more likely to follow my rules. :)
Dr. Z :

That is pretty funny, but it sounds like they are benefiting from being around you

Customer: thanks, XXXXX XXXXX mutual.
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