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Q+A: My 7-Year-Old Thinks She's Fat -- How Do I Respond?

Q. My 7-year-old daughter told me yesterday she thinks she's fat. She's actually skinny, so this totally freaked me out. What's the best response?

A. Kids this age say stuff like that to get attention, so stay calm. Also, many girls are only repeating what they hear. "It's your job as a parent to figure out whether there's something deeper going on," says Jenn Berman, author of The A to Z Guide to Raising Happy, Confident Kids. "Don't simply say, 'You're not fat.' Tell her that her body is beautiful, healthy, and strong." If this goes on for more than a few weeks, however, bring it up with your pediatrician.

Originally published in the February 2009 issue of Parents magazine.

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