Discussing weight issues with your kids can certainly be a sensitive one. You don't want to sound critical, but it's important to express concern too.
Sometimes as parents we need to step back and ask ourselves if we've been saying the wrong things. If our comments are hurtful in the slightest, they're probably not worth saying!
But, pretending the issue doesn't exist isn't a good idea either.
Your teen's weight problems are much better addressed directly, privately, and with lots of sensitivity. Children need to know they have someone supportive at home, who they can talk through these issues with.
So, here are 3 ways to address weight issues sensitively:
1. Focus on Health
By changing the focus from weight to health you're focusing on the positive aspect. Teach them how to make healthier choices if necessary, and be enthusiastic about any little changes you notice.
Getting into the kitchen with your kids is a great way to teach. Looking back to my childhood, time spent with mum in the kitchen are among my happiest memories, and what I learned from her has stood me in good stead ever since.
Try to make the focus of any discussions about health rather than appearances. Getting healthier shouldn't be about becoming prettier or skinnier, that can lead to more problems down the line.
2. Make it Easy
You should try to lead by example, rather than become the parent Mafia! No-one wants you hoovering over their shoulder as they eat or exercise.
Instead bring healthy food into your home, eat well and have a positive attitude yourself, take some exercise, and don't slouch in front of the TV for hours. Look for fun ways to spend active time together as a family too.
Also, occasional treats are absolutely fine. Remember, often when you make something forbidden it has the unintended opposite effect.
3. Don't Create Labels
Kids often hear what you say, even when they pretend they aren't listening. So, it's important not to label them -- fat, lazy, slow, etc -- because sometimes they start living up to their labels.
If you have one child who is healthy weight and one who is overweight, try not to make a difference, such as restricting cookies for your overweight child. As I said above, health should be a whole family endeavour, so that everyone is in the same boat. This can go a long way to helping your teen feel normal, rather than the odd one out.