9-Year-Old Tells Her Mom She Doesn't Want To Look 'Big' Like Her When She Grows Up

Her little girl already thinks she's too "fat," and she doesn't know how to respond.

TikToker explains her conversation with her daughter while shopping for clothes @missmommymack | TikTok, Mr. Socrates, Natissima | Canva

A mom on TikTok is struggling with how to respond after her nine-year-old daughter confessed she thinks she's too fat and is worried about how she'll end up looking once she grows up. 

The situation has thrown the mom for a loop — and the responses she received after posting her story, many of them critical and fatphobic, haven't helped at all, either.

Her 9-year-old is afraid she'll look like her mother when she grows up, because of how 'big' she is.

"My 9-year-old's saying she's fat, and this is because she has to wear adult sizes...cause she's really tall just like me," mom and TikToker @missmommymack said in her video. It all began during a recent shopping trip when it turned out her daughter had grown out of kid's clothes.


She tried to normalize the situation by explaining to her daughter that she, too, had to wear adult-sized clothes as a kid because of her height. But her daughter, at the tender age of nine, has already internalized an entirely different lesson from the experience.



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Her daughter thinks she is 'fat,' and asked for assurance she won't look like her mother as an adult.

"She was mad that she couldn't wear the kids' clothes, she kept calling herself fat," the mom went on to explain. Her daughter began pointing out parts of her body that she finds unacceptable, saying "she had too big of a butt and that the other kids her age don't have to wear adult clothes.

"Then she asked me if she was gonna look like me when she grew up," the mom said. She then asked her daughter if she meant "big like me" and her daughter said yes. "I'm not trying to be mean, mom, but I wanna look like Aunt Sarah, not you," her daughter told her.

As any parent would be, the mom was saddened by the comment on a couple of different levels. "I kept a brave face," she said, "and I said as long as you're happy and healthy and you love yourself, that's all that matters, no matter what size you are." But she admits she was hurt by it, even though she understands her daughter meant no harm. "It just really sucked," she went on to say.

Today's world is more inclusive and diverse when it comes to body image and beauty standards compared to the world previous generations grew up in. But it's a bracing reminder of how much farther we have to go that a nine-year-old is still so aware of toxic and fatphobic beauty standards that she's already afraid she's going to look like her mother, at an age when she should be able to just be a kid.

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The mom got tons of responses, many of them giving unhelpful advice about how to talk to her daughter about feeling 'fat.'

In one such response, another mom advised @missmommymack to remove all unhealthy foods from the house so that her daughter would be forced to lose weight. Thankfully, she didn't take that advice — and countered it with solid advice of her own.



"I think you missed the point of that video," she said. "A lot of people, and I mean a lot of people, like to assume that plus-size people don't know how to eat healthy or are unhealthy, when in fact we're not."

She's right — doctors and scientists have begun drawing distinctions between weight and diseases associated with obesity like diabetes and hypertension, because not all fat people suffer from these diseases, or any ailments at all for that matter. This is at the core of movements like "healthy at every size," for example. And some studies have shown that fat can even be beneficial to health in some ways. 


The TikToker went on to detail how her daughter lives an active, healthy lifestyle, and that she is careful about how she talks about body image, as well as her own body. "I also don't talk bad about myself in front of her. I don't let other people talk about her weight or my weight in front of her."

She added that she's also careful about how she talks about and manages her daughter's diet. "If my daughter wants a [expletive] candy bar, she's getting a [expletive] candy bar. I'm not going to not let her eat foods that she likes." And she refuses to make an issue of her daughter's weight at all. "I'm never gonna tell her her weight is the problem. Cause that's what traumatized me."

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Experts say this is precisely how parents should handle their children's body image and weight issues—whether real or perceived.

Restricting food and managing a child's weight can inspire damaging feelings of shame, and psychiatry professor Gail Saltz has said that children learn these attitudes primarily from their parents.


"If you want your daughter to like her size," Saltz told Time, "but you’re constantly saying you don’t like yours, that will make the bigger impact." 

That didn't stop the criticism from coming @missmommymack's way, however — or at her daughter, for that matter. Several commenters scolded her for raising a "fatphobic" daughter, seemingly without any cognizance of how unavoidable fatphobic messaging is in our culture, from media content to even children's toys — or the fact that they were attacking the character of a literal child.

"Paige is only 9 years old," the mom said in her daughter's defense. "Just because she said she wanted to be thin does not make her fatphobic. Even though I don't talk bad about myself or her, doesn't mean that she hasn't heard it before from others."




And though she was hurt by her daughter's comments about being afraid she'll look like her mother one day, @missmommymack said ultimately, she's just relieved that her little girl feels comfortable opening up to her about her insecurities. "Even though it hurt a lot, I am so grateful that she felt safe enough to talk to me." That alone means she's doing something — and probably a lot of things — right. 

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John Sundholm is a news and entertainment writer who covers pop culture, social justice and human interest topics.