Kids are cruel and we know this. According to the Atlantic.com, that cruelty starts early and it’s especially tough when it comes to fat people.
Researchers at the University of Leeds in the United Kingdom worked with a group of 126 school children. Children read the same story starring a character named Alfie, who had to rescue his cat from a tree with the help of his friend Thomas. Alfie is presented as “normal”, overweight and finally in a wheelchair in different versions of the story. When asked, children (somewhat reasonably), said fat Alfie and wheelchair Alfie we likely to lose a race against Thomas. Wheelchair Alfie was said to be physically weak and not as likely to get invited to parties as Thomas. However, they gave other negative ratings to fat Alfie; that he would be less likely to be invited to parties, do well in school or be happy with how he looks.
So while the kids didn’t predict a great life for the character in a wheelchair, the fat character still had it harder. Wrote the Atlantic,
They were much harsher critics of the fat character than the one with another — and less common — physical difference suggests that at their young age, they’ve already absorbed an upsetting message: that fat is a negative indicator of a person’s character, and that overweight people are undesirable as friends and as people.
How do you talk to your kids about body image?