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Overweight stepchild... how can I help?

My stepdaughter is 3 years old, will be 4 at the end of September. She weighs 63 lbs 3'4" tall and is wearing big girls size 10/12. I can't tell the difference in her clothes and those of my 12 year old daughter! Her doctor has told her mother that she obese and needs to have a special diet, but the mother responded with "my daughter is perfect". I have tried to talk to my husband (her dad), and convince him to get her mother on board with a diet program or at least some exercise. He gets very defensive and says "I'm a big guy, her mother is a big girl, and my daughter is going to be a big girl." I don't believe that: it's an excuse. The child can barely dress herself, and has a bad odor where sweat and urine get caught in the folds of her skin, and this can't be good for her heart! Not to mention that its near impossible to find long pants that will fit her. Is there anything I can do, or should I just sit back and let them make excuses?

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Anonymous

Asked by Anonymous at 4:06 PM on Aug. 18, 2013 in Preschoolers (3-4)

Answers (6)
  • Do not concern yourself with the occurrences at the mother's home.
    Simply offer you entire family the doctor's diet and exercise program, no discussion with DH.

    If he asks why the diet and exercise regiment has changed for your entire family simply state, "I think we can all do better".
    Do not ever let on that it is out of concern for the child's issues.
    feralxat

    Answer by feralxat at 4:11 PM on Aug. 18, 2013

  • Just feed her healthy stuff,keep her clean,have her exercise,while she's with you
    butterflyblue19

    Answer by butterflyblue19 at 4:12 PM on Aug. 18, 2013

  • you can only do things while she is with you, sadly....

    I would attempt to gently push for more time with her.

    At almost 4 she might be reasoned with a little that healthy food choices will result in more energy and more fun stuff. I'd make a bline to the ymca for swimming, lots of swimming. And a ballet class for core, or kids yoga maybe. Make it FUN.
    hibbingmom

    Answer by hibbingmom at 4:13 PM on Aug. 18, 2013

  • I wouldn't think of it as sitting back & letting them, but I do think it is wise to recognize what you can't do (re: controlling or changing other people) and focus on what you CAN do. I recommend focusing on your relationship with the child, and supporting your husband's relationship with her. Try to address any issues you can with helping her to get clean, and engaging her in healthy activities, but not in a way that is focused on her weight & her issues. Focus on seeing the person, not seeing a problem. Focus on loving her unconditionally. The more health (including emotional health) you bring to her life, the more support there is for change, and the more you create the conditions FOR change. Most change is incremental. You are building toward something. These types of issues reflect or signal relationship problems (relationships between things, boundaries, balance) so the more you correct the more you help.
    girlwithC

    Answer by girlwithC at 4:14 PM on Aug. 18, 2013

  • You're not the mom. There's only so much you can do without the support of the parents. I know this story well. I agree with Feral; just try to change the eating and exercise habits of your family and hope some of the healthier choices will rub off on your stepdaughter. Don't bother saying anything to either of the parents. From my experience, all you'll get is bruised from banging your head against the wall.
    Ballad

    Answer by Ballad at 4:43 PM on Aug. 18, 2013

  • Sadly, as you are not the mom, there isn't much you can do. BUT, you can offer healthy foods to the entire family. If her dad is a big man, he most likely might need a change of diet as well.
    ChasingBridges

    Answer by ChasingBridges at 6:41 PM on Aug. 18, 2013

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