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These days, wherever I go, everybody seems to be on a diet! What appalled me though, was little kids going on diet.
When I was a kid, we ate heartily and played merrily. That was all that mattered. It didn't matter if we were thin or plump. The first time I heard about dieting was not until I started work. There were random one or two girls in college who tried to diet, but not any of my close friends and so I never gave it much thought. All that worried us were homework and exams. But now, whoever I talk to, especially my school going cousins, seems to be on diet. While we used to look forward to lunch time to have Amma's yummy delicacies for lunch or go to the canteen to have piping hot lunch, these kids starve themselves by satisfying their hunger with cornflakes and the like! What struck me was, even the mothers didn't mind it after all. They wanted their kids to trim down by any means - be it starving or whatever it took. A friend of mine, put her 6 year old son on diet because as per the mother "he was overweight". His food intake quantity is controlled and the mother convinces the son that his tummy is so full that he can't have anymore! I was aghast. 5 year old kid being put on a diet! Seriously, is this how we want our kids to grow?
When everyone is speaking philosophy about how the outer beauty doesn't matter and it is the inner beauty that you have to nurture, aren't we, parents, confusing the kids with doing just the opposite? Aren't we making them conscious about their looks and worrying them about gaining or losing weight at this tender age when all they should be doing is eat yummy food and play to their hearts content? We force feed babies and are never satisfied about how much they eat and once they start school, the same parents who force fed their babies put them on diet because the kid is overweight by then! If this is the trend that we are planning to follow, won't the next generation - our babies whom we love so much - fall into depression because of unwanted, difficult to achieve, stretch targets of weight loss and diet?
As a parent, it is our responsibility to set the right example and instil confidence in our babies. For that, we need to teach them to be happy and let them know they are perfect howsoever they look. We need to teach them to care for others and help people in need. That makes them a good human being and beautiful in other's eyes and not their physical beauty. If not us, there will be nobody else to teach our babies to be happy the way they are. We need to be their first teacher and they need to see us happy and content for them to grow up the same way. If not, this world is going to be a sad place with people obsessed about looks and weight, conscious about what they eat and never content about life, which is definitely going to make them unhappy!