When mom Heather Carmichael saw her nine-year-old daughter preparing to work out, she got worried. The little girl, Leah, was caught trying to sneak weights and a scale into her bedroom, and mom knew that something was wrong. The little girl had never expressed interest in such things before, and mom worried that the fourth-grader from Kansas was getting into fitness for all the wrong reasons.
Instead of ignoring the issue, Carmichael went on the attack. She cornered Leah and demanded that the little girl tell her what was really going on. She didn’t want Leah holding back. She promised that she’d keep her secret safe and not tell anyone. And with her confidence gained, Leah proceeded to reveal to her mother that bullies at school were targeting her – and they were calling her “fat.”
Not only were bullies picking on Leah, who was just a little girl, but they were also making fun of her appearance and pointing out the weight she had gained.
When Carmichael heard that Leah was suffering and the bullies at school were the cause, she was horrified. Although she had promised her daughter that she’d keep her secret with her, she knew that she could not. The bullies had to be stopped. They had to be put in their place.
“It made me feel like I wasn’t good enough,” Leah told WDAF after her mother acted against the fat-shaming bullies.
Because Carmichael didn’t want to hear that her daughter was a victim, she set out to turn the tables on the bullies. First, she wanted to give her daughter some mental defenses against her abusers at school. She worked with Leah to help her become more mentally tough. She told her that she was beautiful as she was and that she had to start feeling that way. That was the truth — not the ugly words coming out of the bullies’ mouths.
That’s when Carmichael got a brilliant idea. She decided to create T-shirts for Leah that would display empowering messages. The idea was that Leah’s bullies would have to read the inspiring message on the front of the shirt before they could say anything cruel to Leah.
“Bought this shirt for my youngest daughter, who is one of the kindest, most generous people I know,” Carmichael wrote on Facebook. “We just had to have a talk because quite a few kids have called her fat lately (she’s going through a growth spurt), and it’s breaking my heart. She is strong and healthy and beautiful. In our house, we talk about healthy, not fat versus skinny. So here’s my PSA to please teach your kids to use kind words and stop defining women by their weight.”
Carmichael makes a good point. If bullies continue to pick on little girls because of the way they look, they’re going to perpetuate problems through the generations. Women need to become advocates for each other. It’s hard enough for women in this country as it is.
What do you think about this mom’s solution to her daughter’s problem with the bullies?
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