Dear Coleen – ‘My mother-in-law feeds my daughter sugary junk food’

Dear Coleen

My husband’s family are all fairly obese and our six-year-old daughter has also been labelled overweight during a school health check.

My mother-in-law looks after her twice a week while I’m at work and I know she feeds her junk.

My daughter will often come home and say she’s had cake and chocolate straight from school, and then more chocolate and cake after dinner.

We recently asked her to not to give our daughter too much sugar and she was furious with us.

We were very polite, but she accused us of being controlling and ungrateful for all the childcare she does for us.

Although I am happy for my daughter to have some treats, I don’t want her to grow up like my husband and have weight issues.

What’s the best way forward?

Coleen says

It’s so difficult and this is a problem I hear time and again.

Look, I think you’re in the right, but you have to tread carefully here – especially because she’s helping you out with childcare, which no doubt saves you money and makes life easier for everybody.

So you should try and make it up with her and say, “Look, I’m really not being controlling and I think you’re doing an absolutely great job with her and we’re so grateful.

“But it’s been pointed out to her dad and me, by her school, that she’s overweight for her age and that we need to restrict treats – so we all need to be careful.”

Then leave it at that.

Don’t mention you think your husband, her son, is overweight.

Look, it’s only two days a week, it’s not like she looks after your daughter every day.

So be extra careful at home and make those other five days count.

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