Gransnet forums


Obese step grandson

(44 Posts)
Lillylover Tue 16-Jun-20 14:55:08

I am really concerned about my step grandson who is extremely overweight in fact I am sure he would be clasified as obese. His mum is a single parent and is fairly healthy herself but seems to allow her son to eat what he wants and says she cant force him to exercise (he spends most of his free time on a computer but that's a whole other story!). I have a really good relationship with my stepdaughter and I have raised my concerns about her son and suggested a slimming group etc and while she has acknowledged he's a bit chubby!!! she feels diets are wrong and children shouldn't be brainwashed (she feels growing up that's all her mum spoke about). I am really concerned for his wellbeing and the fact he is going to senior school in September and feel he may be bullied. Also if I'm honest I'm ashamed to admit this but I avoid going out with them as I am embarrassed about his weight and feel are judging us. Any help on how I can advise her

Pantglas2 Tue 16-Jun-20 15:00:43

Your penultimate sentence is very telling but that doesn’t alter the fact that it is unhealthy in the long run to carry excess weight. However as step GP you have no role in this unless specifically requested.

MissAdventure Tue 16-Jun-20 15:04:41

I'm not sure advice would be very welcome, particularly in light of her own mum's 'going on' when she was young.

Oopsminty Tue 16-Jun-20 15:09:16

This is a very unfortunate position, and as Pantglas2 has said, unless asked, it could cause a lot of hurt.

When I was a child at school in the 60's.70's we weren't overweight. Probably due to no tasty fast food and doughnuts etcetc

My treat was a Breakaway biscuit in the car when my Mother picked me up from school

Now children have so much more to choose from. McDonalds, KFC, Pizza Hut etc etc They constantly graze on something or other

With this virus we're going to have to start conversations about excess weight . So many of the patients are obese leading to numerous problems when being treated in hospital.

Do you ever have a chat with your step grandson about sport or activities?

Very difficult for you to address

Grammaretto Tue 16-Jun-20 15:16:01

All you can do is to continue to support them both and try not to judge.

My DSis has(d) an obese DiL and managed to encourage her and pay for her, to attend weight watchers . She lost weight and was far more outgoing and in control that she immediately found a job and several things improved for her.

With children though, I don't think there is a lot you can do unless you can think of something he would like that would improve his life generally. It must be very hard at present with so many things closed . I was going to suggest swimming but the pools are still shut.

paddyanne Tue 16-Jun-20 15:53:51

if its serious enough that it needs dealt with then professional help should be sought .I would never try to put a young child on a diet ..ever.Giving them a complex about their weight will last a lifetime and should be avoided at all costs ,After lockdown you could suggest a GP visit and find out IF he really needs to lose weight ,but remember lots of Boys take a stretch and grow 6 or 7 inches once they hit puberty and it may well fix itself.
I sympathise with your stepdaughter ,my mother was weight obsessed and told me I looked fat even on my wedding day in a size 8 dress that had been taken in.Sadly I believed her then and have had major issues with my weight all my adult life .Dont start on this route with a child please , let his mum deal with it in her own way .

PinkCakes Tue 16-Jun-20 17:46:40

How old is the boy? If he's at school, someone there should be picking up on his weight. Does your step-daughter cook healthy, decent meals? It is the responsibility of the parents to ensure that they provide well-balanced meals and snacks.

I think you've said your bit to the mother, and now you should leave it. To say you avoid going out with them because you're embarrassed about the kid's weight is shameful! Help him (if you must), but don't make him feel bad.

sodapop Tue 16-Jun-20 18:06:12

Seems like you are judging the boy and his mother Lillylover. There are concerns for his health but having flagged it up with them there is no more you should do unless specifically asked.

Toadinthehole Tue 16-Jun-20 18:14:23

I’m presuming your son is with his mother? The most you could do is just mention to him your concerns. Otherwise you have no business getting involved. Sorry.

ninathenana Tue 16-Jun-20 18:16:31

I find it really sad that you're ashamed to be seen with him. I wonder how you would feel if he had a disability. Which in a way he does.

Calendargirl Tue 16-Jun-20 18:16:31

I think the OP was being very honest when she said she was embarrassed to be seen out with her stepdaughter and overweight step GS.

I don’t know what she can do, as it isn’t down to her, but one reason why there are so many overweight children is because too many people turn a blind eye to the problem.

OutsideDave Wed 17-Jun-20 16:28:28

Consider getting some therapy to address your fat phobia and bigotry.

GagaJo Wed 17-Jun-20 16:44:55

Like your style OutsideDave.

Nansnet Thu 18-Jun-20 05:20:25

I can understand your concerns, and it's good that you've raised them with your step daughter, who obviously realizes her son is overweight. However, unless she specifically asks for your help/advice, it's probably best to keep quiet about it.

The problem here kind of lies with your step daughter ... you say she seems to allow him to eat what he wants, and she can't force him to exercise, and he spends most of his free time on the computer. Frankly, I think that's a lame excuse for the parent of a child who must be, what, about 11/12 years old? She is responsible for buying his food, and putting it on his plate. And she is responsible for allowing him so much time on the computer. Understandably, during lockdown, children haven't been able to go out playing with friends, or enjoying sports, etc., but it sounds like this has been going on for a while longer than that.

One thing I will say is, please don't bring up this subject in front of your GS, and certainly do not mention about joining slimming clubs. Can you imagine what the idea of that would do to a child's mind. He'll end up having issues about diet/weight for the rest of his life.

As someone else mentioned, boys usually have a growth spurt around the time they start secondary school. I remember my own son was a bit chubby at that time but, all of a sudden, he became a slim, 6 foot teenager overnight!

You say you have a really good relationship with your step daughter. Do you every food shop with her? If you can, I'd suggest going with her, and maybe broach the subject about what GS likes to eat ... growing boys of that age do tend to eat rather a lot, but they need to eat the right things. If she's buying unhealthy stuff to keep in the house, then of course GS is going to eat them. But if she only has healthy stuff, then that's all he can eat!

BlueBelle Thu 18-Jun-20 06:43:17

It’s very very hard to control an 11 year old having to stay in home for four months to not go on a computer most of the time, what else can he do, even school work will be sitting at a computer
Is she a single mum? You don’t mention a father
Is she a working lady or at home to keep an eye on things I mean if she wasn’t buying the wrong food he couldn’t eat it could he but you can’t have any control over her shopping habits

There’s really not much you can do to be honest without upsetting her or worse still your grandson
Boys do eat ‘the house‘ at that age but it’s probably his lack of exercise more than anything
Once the gyms are open maybe that would be an answer buy him a subscription I remember a friend of my sons was very chubby at that age but took himself off to a gym and became a real cracker a very good looking lad

It’s a hard one it really is If the fathers around that might be your answer to talk to but I m imagining he’s not with them

jane1956 Thu 18-Jun-20 08:30:51

My grandson (19) is obese but am not ashamed of going out with him, in fact very proud he has an apprenticship in pharmacy at Princess Diana of Wales Hospital (Grimsby) he is on rubbish money but is sticking with it as he can see a goal in the end

Canklekitten Thu 18-Jun-20 08:47:23

jane 1956 - what a wonderful grandmother your are. Your grandson will flourish in life because he knows how proud you are of him.

Lillylover you should be ashamed of yourself. Even if you haven't said anything about your grandsons weight, he will already have sensed the fact that you are ashamed of him.

Made me very sad to read - I'm just glad you're not grandmother to my kids!!

Txquiltz Thu 18-Jun-20 08:55:54

Ashamed to be seen with him? How very sad. Like an earlier poster said, boys go through an upward growth spurt as they hit puberty. I raised 2 boys and now have 2 GS. All hit the increase in weight and slimmed down with puberty. Maybe you need to examine why fat shaming (including embarrassment when you are with him) is okay?

LJP1 Thu 18-Jun-20 09:14:45

You could try talking to your GS and hope he will tell you if he is being bullied about his weight. That would give you a reason for mentioning it to his mother. Is she just to depressed to have the energy to make better decisions about what food she buy - is she overweight?

Sys2ad2 Thu 18-Jun-20 09:33:00

Get him a fitbit and challenge him to do more exercise, even walking will help him lose weight. Maybe invite him for lunch at the weekends and give him low calorie meals. Then go for a long walk littles steps and hopefully you will see a difference

Elizabethregina Thu 18-Jun-20 09:40:29

I feel for you. I’m horrified to see so many fat and obese children/teenagers.
Their quality and of life, their health and their relationships will be severely impacted and I suffer to think how obese these overweight children will become as adults.
Obesity does not seem to be a common problem in Europe but their are few fast food outlets and generally the meals contain much more fresh vegetables and fruit.
I would talk to your DIL. The child needs help to prevent an unhappy and unhealthy lifetime ending in premature death.
It is a child protection issue, in my opinion, and there are dieticians and sports people who can help her present it as a positive life style move toward good health.
Maybe she might feel better if she upped her exercise and downed her calories with him?

ladymuck Thu 18-Jun-20 09:41:11

Sorry to say it, but your granddaughter is shirking her responsibilities as a parent. Not only is obesity likely to lead to serious health problems, but the boy is very possibly under-nourished. Perhaps when he starts secondary school, these problems will be addressed.
In the meantime, why not buy the boy a football? Most boys are passionate about football and trying to race after the ball might make him more aware of the drawbacks of being fat.

grandtanteJE65 Thu 18-Jun-20 09:50:54

You have voiced your concern and obviously the boy's mother doesn't see eye to eye with you, so there is nothing more you can do right now.

Serve healthy food when they visit you and leave it at that.

geekesse Thu 18-Jun-20 09:56:26

With any luck, he’ll have a growth spurt in the next couple of years and get slimmer as he gets taller. My youngest son was distinctly tubby till the age of 13, then grew like a weed for a few months and ended up as skinny as a rake - and he remains so to this day, in his late twenties.

Sadgrandma Thu 18-Jun-20 10:32:33

Lillylover, I have two very obese step- granddaughters in their early twenties. I have expressed my concern to my husband but would never say anything to them as I don't feel it is my place to do so. However, neither the girls, their parents or their grandmother seem bothered which I find a bit strange as none of them are really overweight. Lillylover I think we both have to accept them as they are and not worry about what other people think.