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Talking about WLS with children



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Hi! I’m planning to have a RNY and I have two “tween” sons. How did you talk to them about your surgery? Both boys are stick thin (their dad’s genes are the dominant ones!). I’m a bit worried, as the younger one had a number of medical issues when he was younger and is rather terrified of doctors.

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I think this a great opportunity for you to model focusing on HEALTH (vs weight). I have 2 preschool sons- who also seem to have their daddys' thin genes- so I've talked to them about it in much more simple terms obviously, but I'm focusing on health and what I will be able to do soon, and not even mentioning weight unless/until they ask about that specifically. Even if they are thin, their bodies are changing, and there is just as much pull toward unhealthy habits even if their bodies don't respond as ours do.

As for your younger son, you showing your confidence and trust in the doctors could do a lot for helping him through his fear. Just respond to any of his anxiety with kindness and tenderness. ❤️

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My girls were 13 and 16 when I had my VSG. They had watched me struggle with my weight for years. I explained simply what the surgery was, why I was having it (to be healthy and be there to see them grow up, get married and have kids if that's what they choose), to be able to enjoy things with them that I couldn't and to try to put off having my knees replaced. (They knew very clearly about my history of knee issues.)

There were some questions. One was very supportive, the other not as much, but that has more to do with their personality types.

You have to approach them in a way that works for them given their fears/concerns. I left plenty of time for them to ask questions or not. My girls were mostly concerned about the actual surgical procedure and anesthesia for me, but in large part that's because I've handled quite a few medical malpractice cases in my day and they would hear me talk about those issues. But they also know as a result I'm very picky about what doctors and hospitals treat me! :)

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I have a 10 and 13 year old. They know I couldn't do a lot of the things they wanted me to do with them in regards to physical activity. Since the surgery and now that I'm down about 100lbs, I'm doing so much more. I kept repeating the same thing before the procedure that I'm doing this so I can be around for them and so I can do things with them. Now the proof is in the pudding as they say and I'm owning up to it and they were so happy the first time I got on an amusement park ride with them because I could instead of watching from the sidelines as I did the first 10 and 13 years of their lives.

Good luck!

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Honestly, I didn’t tell my kids. Still haven’t. I just felt like putting my issues on them wasn’t appropriate at the time. I do model a new healthy lifestyle and they are participants, however I felt like my obesity had a lot more emotional baggage then they needed to be aware of. Each situation is different and specific to the person and the child

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This is a great topic! I struggled with this as well, but my kids are only 6 and 8. I have told them I’m having surgery for my health, less back pain, and to help me be able to do more with them. They haven’t asked for anything more specific, but as they get older I will share more with them if they ask. The only question I got from them is “will I be able to jump on the trampoline with them after my surgery?” 😄

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Thank you all for your responses! I really appreciate all of the varying perspectives.

Our family does family dinners and talks frequently about the need to eat healthy meals (due to younger kiddo’s past challenges). I’ll need to start distinguishing between adults and kids — I certainly don’t need as much fuel as tween/teen boys. 🙂 I’ll also need to talk to hubby about our rule that we sit at the table together until everyone is done eating. It sounds like it will take me a while to eat.

Also, I wonder if I can ship the kiddos to my sister’s for a few days after the surgery until I’m feeling a bit better? It might make the process less scary.

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I brought my teenage son to my orientation and he was very supportive all the way through. He said it's scary but if it's going to make you happy I'm on board. The other kids are young and probably won't remember I was ever big. I hope...but there is pictures to remind them. My husband and kids are my closest trusted people in the world and their support has been everything to me.

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I believe everything you will learn to do with healthy eating Portion Control should be passed onto them there's no reason for children to be obese it is down to the parents to model the good behavior

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