How NOT to Parent

Working in retail, and especially the kids' sections, I've heard a lot of parents say and do a lot of things. Some of them have made me laugh, some have bothered me a little, and some have just confused the heck out of me. This particular one made me really, really, REALLY freaking mad, with an element of "WTF?" thrown in. This, you guys, is how not to parent.

I was working in the girls' section, and I saw this little girl who looked pretty down. I asked how she was doing and she said, "Fine," a little sadly, then walked away.. I kept working, but I couldn't help but overhear parts of the conversation (read: the mom was very, very loud). The little girl was there with her younger sister, her mom, and I presume an aunt; she looked around the mom's age, and they looked pretty similar. Anyway, the girl was pointing out a dress, and... well, this is some of what I heard.

Girl: Ooh mom, look at this dress!
Mom: You ain't no size seven! (The girl was a little overweight)
Girl: I really wish I could have this dress...
Mom (instead of saying something logical, like "Let's see if they have it in another size"): Well then, STOP EATING! Go on you a diet. Throw up your food and lose every bit of weight you've got!

Hold up.

When did that become okay, telling your children to develop eating disorders? That's essentially the same thing as telling your children to slowly (or not so slowly) kill themselves.

I was this close: |-| to saying something. If I hadn't been working at the time and afraid of losing my job, I'd have said something. If I'd thought it would do any real, permanent good, I'd have said something anyway. But since it was such a hair-trigger response from the mom, I get the feeling this isn't a one-time thing.

At this point the little girl was, understandably, crying, and her mom continued to berate her; her little sister stayed out of it. The mom's friend/sister/whatever started to say something to the other woman, to which the mom said (again loudly), "I just don't understand it... until I had the girls, I was a size zero!"

Well, good for you.

I just so happened to be at the cash registers when this family checked out, so I had the honor of hearing more of the mother's dramatics. I talked to the girls some, complimented them, that sort of thing, and in the course of the transaction I learned that the girl who "should stop eating" is nine years old.

Nine, you guys.

It makes me sick.

I'm all for promoting healthy eating habits in your children, for health reasons. But I'm pretty sure it's healthier for a kid to be a little overweight than to be anorexic or bulimic.

Just sayin'.
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