March 14, 2022

Ask Amy: How Should I Deal With Comments About My Kid's Size?

People’s comments about how tiny our child is, or how chubby, can really get to us– even when it’s intended as a compliment, or at least as a sincere inquiry. Here’s what to say when nosy strangers, neighbors, or relatives comment on our kid’s size.

Here at What Fresh Hell we say there's no reason for anyone to comment on another person's size in a conversational setting. Ever. Including women who are (or who might appear) pregnant, and also including babies and kids who might appear either small or big for their chronological age.

The latter is a course correction a lot of us might need to consider. What's the harm in saying a sweet little girl is teensy-tiny? Well, read the question of the week:

My daughter is five, but the size of a three-year-old. She's teeny-tiny. How do you deal with other adults' comments about your child’s size? It’s infuriating to me that adults cannot stop making comments, from taxi drivers to her classmates' parents. It’s never other kids, at least not yet.

I usually just acknowledge how old she is and try to shut down the conversation, but I’d love a really good comeback to make them realize that commenting on children’s bodies is never a good idea! Something else to note: I actually am concerned about her size, and we are going to the endocrinologist next month. All these comments just add to my anxiety. But there’s a good chance this is just who my daughter is!

In this episode, Amy gives this listener ideas of what to say both when her daughter is present for these comments, and when she isn't; plus how best to react when it's a stranger saying these things, versus a grandparent or teacher or other adult your child might see more frequently.

These comments might not have hurtful intent behind them; we'd argue they usually don't. But they're still insensitive, and if the parent in this situation can react with honesty and a bit of grace, it might just result in a teachable moment that will have that person behave differently next time.

Amy references @feedinglittles on Instagram as a great resource for what to say in these moments.

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