Would you ever put your four-year-old on a diet to fit into her pageant dress? How about restrict your eight-year-olds daily calorie intake before a competition, bake her cake as a reward and then pile on the guilt as she eats it?
It might sound ludicrous to some but it's not uncommon on America’s trainwreck of a reality show, Toddlers and Tiaras .
In a recent episode (see video above - from minute 5:20 to 7:46), eight-year-old Ever Rose loses 10 pounds (4.535 kg) thanks to the calorie-restricted diet her mother placed her on.
While Ever Rose is adamant she “really wants to win” she confesses she does get hungry sometimes. That might have something to do with the fact that growing and developing children need to eat healthy, substantial meals.
You can almost see the calories adding up before her eyes with each mouthful of cake her daughter shovels into her mouth.
Her mother is a self-confessed baker who appears to be deflecting her own battle with food onto her young daughter. The night before the competition she bakes an Ever Rose Pie – whatever that is – and then a special good luck cake to top off the celebrations. But as she watches her daughter eat she starts to resemble a scared deer caught in headlights. You can almost see the calories adding up before her eyes with each mouthful of cake her daughter shovels into her mouth.
“Now Ever Rose remember this is your treat for doing good,” she pleads in front of all the party guests. Has she never heard that you don’t make food a reward?
Another mother has proudly bought her four-year-old Adriana a glitzy competition dress that she can barely fit into. But don’t worry; she has her daughter on a diet of salads so she will shed those extra kilos in no time at all. In fact she has already lost four pounds (just under 2kg). Hot tip mum: think about buying a dress that fits.
“I will go all the way and do whatever it takes to get her to where she needs to be,” she declares. Remember: we are talking about pageants, not maths tutoring.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with teaching your child to eat healthy and exercise but could the behaviour these pageant mums are modelling be setting their children up for a lifetime of eating disorders and body issues? Time will tell.