Kids don't have much of a filter, which is both endearing and infuriating, depending on your mood. Sometimes, kids will say some pretty mean stuff about their parents, which is a great time for a teaching moment. Take, Allison Kimmey, a self-help author and mom whose daughter called her "fat." Instead of getting angry or punishing 4-year-old Cambelle, Kimmey turned it into a teaching moment about body positivity.
According to a post on Instagram, the 30-year-old Florida mom was trying to get her kids out of the pool the other day when things started to go awry. Angry, her daughter turned to her brother, 6-year-old Graham, and called her mom "fat."
Kimmey told them both to meet her upstairs for a little chat. She explained to her daughter that no one can "BE" fat. All people have fat, and some people have more or less than others. Fat doesn't have anything to do with a person's worth. Kimmey backed up her point with some science, explaining that fat "protects our muscles and our bones and keeps our bodies going by providing us energy."
Cambelle then happily realized she had fat on her tummy, as we all do. Listening in, Kimmey's son chimed in. "I don't have any fat, I'm the skinniest, I just have muscles," Graham boasted.
Wrong answer. Kimmey kindly reminded him that everyone has fat and that those muscles were bring protected by something.
He got the point eventually, though still reminded both his sister and mother that he had less fat than them. Kimmey made sure they both got the point. Everyone has different amounts of fat, but that doesn't make anyone less or better than everyone else. They seemed to get it and asked to go back into the pool. (They were sadly denied permission.)
Kimmey wrote that in her home, they don't call someone "fat" as an insult, since it's not an insult. Which means that despite all of her hard work and careful word choice, her children picked it up as an insult somewhere else. Which is a reminder that all parents have to remember to be the loudest, most sensible, and consistent voice when it comes to changing the culture around body positivity for the next generation.
It's not easy. Kimmey has made a career out of encouraging better body image online and through her books — her new children's book, Glitter Stripes, is about her stretch marks. It's been a long road for her, too.
After years of dieting and staring into the mirror, she realized after she had her daughter in 2012 that something was way off. She told Us Weekly:
I had visions of [Cambelle] growing up and looking exactly like me. I verbally said that I wished that she wouldn’t look like me. And at that moment I realized that I needed to change . . . not only for myself, but for my entire family — especially my children.
And that she did. Kimmey's obviously fighting the good fight any chance she gets. Reinforcing the idea that "fat" isn't a word to insult people (or that you shouldn't insult people at all) was the best way to end the classic family feud about getting out of the pool. Because every family member might have some fat, but only the grown-ups make the rules — and thankfully, moms like Allison Kimmey are setting some great ones.