“I am your mother”, I often say to my children in response to them asking a question; a question that I’m not sure that they want an honest answer to.
“You know I will give you an honest answer", I add. "Are you sure you want to hear it”? More often than not they mentally brace themselves and indicate that they do want to hear what I have to say.
Although I believe in giving honest answers, I am also aware that I am fully responsible for the way that my words are delivered and to some extent felt by the receiving party. This is particularly true when I speak to young children/teens.
That said, I don’t think it right or fair to water down the truth to such an extent that the essence of the message is lost.
This week the All Party Parliamentary Group on Body Image has called for the use of “weight-neutral language" rather than labelling people fat, overweight or obese. The reason being, that these words have negative connotations and adversely impact body image and self-esteem.
"It's clear that there's something seriously wrong in society when children as a young as five are worrying about their appearance, based on the messages they are seeing all around them," said Rosi Prescott Central YMCA chief executive.
The problem arises when you try to decide what words to use instead; ‘full figured’ perhaps? Then there is the issue of the new words themselves gaining native overtones over time, resulting in the need for cyclic (politically correct) adaptation.
Personally, I advocate the appropriate and (if required) empathetic use of words that best fit the situation.
The All party group have also recommended that school children should take part in compulsory body image and self-esteem lessons; lessons that we have been delivering for quite some time. Workshop