Nadine Kussaim: How I speak to my 5-year-old about her weight

nad clo
Nadine was one of the contributors on last Friday’s program about why women are uncomfortable with their bodies. She was speaking about weight and body image when the topic of speaking to her daughter about her weight and what she eats came up. Many of you responded to what she said and so I called and asked her to write a post explaining her viewpoint. This is Nadine’s post:

Hi, this is Nadine S.Kussaim from Beirut- Lebanon. I was a speaker from the program World Have Your Say which was about “Body Image” and how it affects us in our daily lives. During the program I mentioned that I have a 5-year-old girl and I do tell her when she is eating chocolate or any kind of junk food that they are not healthy and they do get her fat and she won’t have beautiful clear skin if she eats lots of junk.


I think that disciplining your kids at an early age is the right thing to do and you’ll never have to face any problems (hopefully) of skin or obesity like we see in many countries all over the world. A little girl has to be conscious of what she eats to stay healthy, fit and aware that she will be a young lady very soon and she has to look good, clean, healthy and fit.

I do believe that how you are raised and what you are taught at an early age stays with you till you grow up. I’m also a strong believer that a woman should look good and make an effort in fixing her self mainly for her own satisfaction not for others.

Other speakers on the program were saying things like ‘be who you are — eat what you want — look like yourself..etc..’ Maybe they have a point to a certain extent but not in reality! And not the way we live now.

 P.S. I think there was an Indian lady speaker that agreed with me the other day……I send my regards to her.

Thanks , Nadine

11 Responses to “Nadine Kussaim: How I speak to my 5-year-old about her weight”

  1. 1 Linda from Italy
    September 8, 2009 at 21:30

    P.S. when I heard you on the programme you did use the word “pretty”, but notice on the edited version, that this has been disappeared, but the sentiment is the same.

  2. 2 Bert - USA
    September 8, 2009 at 22:15

    What a cute little girl! I have a cute little girl too, and while she may not have always have eaten as we would have liked at first, obviously the lessons stuck. She soon became the most responsible young lady anyone could hope for.

    And too, the Mediterranean diet cannot hurt. So you have one advantage going in. Nothing quite like starting off on a good diet, to train your taste buds to like the right kinds of food right from the start.

  3. 3 Tom K in Mpls
    September 8, 2009 at 23:02

    Please, not another personal or ‘poster child’ focus on a societal issue. Besides missing the point, I know I would hate being the focus of the attacks likely to occur.

  4. 4 Tom D Ford
    September 9, 2009 at 00:02

    I heard someone once say that she tells her kids that some foods are only “sometimes foods”, that they are bad for you to eat all the time and should only be eaten very occasionally. I think that heads off any rebellion or eating problems in the future.

    The thing is that so many problems revolve around food and good healthy food is essential for a good life. So I agree with Nadine about teaching her daughter early (and both mom and daughter are way cute, pops must be proud) but I think that the way food is taught about is important.

    You want to avoid guilt tripping kids because some kids are genetically destined to get big, and when those hormones kick in at puberty many kids will get pimples no matter what they eat, so give them some leeway to forgive themselves for what nature does to them in spite of their best efforts.

    And instilling a lifelong love for exercise of some kind will go a long way for health and is very good for feeling confident. Run, jump, play, dance, at all ages.

    Now I need to go and practice what I preach.

  5. September 9, 2009 at 07:53

    I think talking to little kids about food is ridiculous. Talking about finishing everything, or pressing them into trying this or that, or having dessert IF you finish your plate is absurd and harmful. In the end your children will eat what you eat, and want what you want. What parents SAY to their youngsters about eating goes in one ear out out the other.

    If you want your kids to eat well, and not to over do it, then feed them good food. Don’t talk about the food, and if they are feeding themselves, give them ten minutes to eat, then smile, clean up, and move on. Never eat desserts. Never give sweets as rewards. Don’t talk about food. Talk about art, or numbers or Zebras …they won’t starve.

    Five years old children get their chocolate from the hands of adults.

    • 6 Julia
      September 9, 2009 at 11:34

      pdxmike: you are so right. I banned the word ‘healthy’ and ‘good’ food. The words have crept in – but mainly from school. Banning desserts works as well as not making a fuss about how much or how little has been eaten. Food is energy: some food works well, some doesn’t. Something to add: kids should also have the experience of being hungry. It’s hard to believe but there are actually kids who are being fed (and over fed) so regularly that they mistake hunger with tummy ache. There are still midwives out there who recommend adjusting feeding times to fit in with schedules. How on earth are kids going to learn to eat healthily if they start off like that?

    • 7 Dennis Junior
      September 12, 2009 at 23:57

      Part one:
      I think that entire idea of talking to a 5 year old about her weight is simply putting ideas into her head, that she needs to lose pounds and, that often leads to more trouble then needed….

      =Dennis Junior=

  6. 8 patti in cape coral
    September 9, 2009 at 12:51

    @ pdxmike – I absolutely agree! Kids can’t eat what you don’t provide. I used to get really mad that any time I bought pop my kids wouldn’t drink anything else until it was gone, and I would never get any, so I just stopped buying it, problem solved. They got used to drinking milk, water, and occasionally juice. I totally agree that the best approach is for it not to be an issue, period.

    My daughter has the opposite problem. She has a small appetite, although the doctor has said she is within the low side of normal weight. She tends to be frail, however, so she has to be careful about eating enough, eating the right foods, getting enough protein, vitamins, and weight lifting to build muscle. In short, doing what all of us need to be doing.

  7. 9 Jennifer
    September 9, 2009 at 15:12

    I agree with Tom K. This post is silly vanity.

    This little girl is beautiful. Let her BE a little girl. Give her food and allow her to eat what she will. Most kids will not overeat; however some parents overfeed their children so they should be mindful of that. Parents should monitor what their kids eat and how much. However, this can be done in a positive way. Eating shouldn’t be equated with negative.

    Talking to a 5 year old about “skin”? This seems much to me. First and foremost, I would want my children to be healthy. While it is important to raise healthy kids; I think you can focus too much on food; which can lead to issues into adulthood. Don’t overdo it.

  8. 10 Keith- Ohio
    September 9, 2009 at 19:30

    I agree with both Tom D Ford and pdxmike. I don’t think it’s unreasonable to either talk to your kids about food or set and enforce an example. My mom was a dietitian, and definitely encouraged good eating habits, and I would still occasionally eat too much halloween candy or eat too many cookies.

    Today, I enjoy very healthy eating habits, and I still cook for fun. I think interesting foods are a great part of my life, and I don’t think I missed out on anything as a kid because I was encouraged to eat healthy, although it took me a while to get the picture :)…Most little kids will stuff their faces with sweet stuff unless given some guidance. What’s up with this sentiment that little kids won’t enjoy their childhood if they are encouraged to eat healthy?

    While I agree with Nadine about encouraging healthy eating habits, she might be doing it for the wrong reasons. Encourage your kids to be healthy, to grow up big and strong. Don’t tell your 5-year old daughter she’ll be fat or have bad skin, she’ll get a complex. I am of the opinion that you should encourage things that will help your child’s well-being, and let them make decisions about beauty for themselves when they get older.

  9. 11 nadine s kussaim
    September 10, 2009 at 10:07

    Hi to all,

    I think people here are missing out the point.
    I don’t think that teaching your daughter at an early age whats good to eat is something bad. Being consious of what to eat and teaching her to have good ,healthy eating habits at an early age sticks with her & in her mind till she grows up.
    It is all like behavior ,what you teach your kid when they are small stays with them till they grow older. I didn’t say i don’t let my little girl eat sweets, candies or cakes, I sure do let her but i explain to her that she can’t have alot of them per day and I do tell her to stop when she wants to over do it.

    I see kids everyday eating lots of junk food and sweets and the parents that haven’t taught their kids that what they’re eating is unhealthy.. at a later stage the parent here won’t have control over the kid. He won’t listen then to the parent to stop eating these junks. In other words teach your kid at an early stage, they then will be consious alone and ask you mum can i eat this or mum can i eat just 2 of this chocolate… I dont think discipline and good habits are bad in these days……….


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