Table 4.

Management: How Do You Prevent a Child From Becoming Overweight or Treat an Overweight Child?

Theme 7.  Mothers have trouble controlling their children's eating habits.
7.1   [I'll] give her what she wants.
7.2   When she wants something, she will open up the refrigerator and she will fight to get to the refrigerator. She will push her big sister out the way and get to the refrigerator.
7.3   I try to control it but he gets to the point where he can climb over the gate, he can take the gate down, and he wants to get something to eat and he is going to get it.
7.4   I try to do the best I can, and that's all I can do.
7.5   My kids, they go in the refrigerator and get whatever they want. I think if a child's hungry—a child knows when they're hungry. You know, they come from school. You know, they're allowed to get whatever they want out of the 'fridgerator. So, you know—that's probably a problem. I know I shouldn't—I know I shouldn't be letting them go in there and get whatever they want—but I do.
7.6   If she's still hungry after we put the food away, I'll get her something else to eat—because I won't let my baby go to bed hungry. If she asks for something, I can't tell her no. I mean that's—that's just how I am. If they ask for something, I'm not going to tell them no. I don't want to deny my child something.
7.7   He's not happy unless he has a bottle in his mouth eating. I don't want to starve him, but you know, I don't know what I can do.
7.8   I'm not going to starve her or make her eat certain foods just so she can get in the “average” weight and height” type category.
7.9   He can't eat a Happy Meal® [child's size fast food meal]. He needs an adult size meal.
Theme 8.  Mothers use food to shape children's behavior.
8.1   'Cause my daughter is real smart, and she gets good grades—so I want to reward her. So I say, “Well, S—-, yeah, you can have this, you can have that. You can go to the store.”
8.2   When I am going out, he says, “This is what I want, I want this.” When I do come in and I don't have anything, he pouts and says, “You didn't buy me anything.” I don't want to hear that and I don't want to see him pout and mad. He doesn't go to school until 12:45—until then, I want to get my sleep so I try to have something there to quiet him down.
8.3   If they're good, I give them a sucker or something.
8.4   If you can afford to give them snacks, you're going to give them snacks.
8.5   Their [grandma] didn't have the money to be able, you know, back then, to support their kids with food.
Theme 9.  Mothers' control over her child's diet is challenged by other family members.
9.1   She [my mother] believed in giving a kid sweets. And now, I do that with my kids. But me and my kids' father have a problem with that. He doesn't like junk food.
9.2   So me and him (child's father) have problems with that, too, 'cause he likes to give her candy.
9.3   He (child's father) gave her 3 suckers and 2 cookies and I got so mad at him.
9.4   They [my mother and boyfriend] say “You shouldn't do that. You shouldn't just let them go in there and get whatever they want,” and I do.
9.5   If [my daughter] starts crying, that's when I have to break down, because my father gets so upset that I'm not giving her food and he thinks I'm starving her. And I'm not. It's just when he comes up [here]. That's when they're hungry.
9.6   I tell my father, “Well, no you can't do that because I'm telling them one thing, and then when you come, they're going to get another, and that's going to confuse them.” Because they're going to think—well are they going to start crying when they don't get what they want, and I'm trying to teach them that they can't always eat like that.
9.7   When I say she can't have it, her daddy gives it to her.
9.8   He went with my father or his father's parents. Whenever we say no, they say yes. If I say no, he says, “Daddy, can I have?,” “Grampa can I have?” [And they say], “Oh, forget your momma. Go ahead and get it.”
9.9   He wants his son to be able to come to him for whatever, anything, because he could not always go to his parents. That's the main thing right there.
9.10  They all get something to eat before they go to bed, which we tell them no, but she [grandmother] gives it to them anyway.
Theme 10.  Mothers' own obesity affects their outlook on children's weight management.
10.1  I've been walking up and down them third floor steps for a year now, and I'm still the same weight.
10.2  I don't think—well, I am a little—uh okay, I am overweight, but I don't feel like I'm overweight, you know. So, I just—I guess it just depends on the person. It just depends on how you feel, what you feel is overweight.
10.3  I look in the mirror and say I am fat. But compared—what I consider fat for me would be where I can't wear clothes that I have. If I have to buy another size to feel comfortable, then I consider myself fat. I have problems with saying that term because I have been labeled fat when I was younger. I look at my daughter and she looks exactly like me and she is not fat.
10.4  It is depressing. At one time, I was really depressed about it and now I am starting to really say, “I am in control of this and this is what I need to do to change my eating habits.”
10.5  I think that's what all of us good parents are doing with our kids is making sure that their self-esteem is up to be prepared for being out there in the world where people tell them that they are this and they are that, and someone is always going to say something.