Last week my daughter came home from school and told me about a friend of hers who asked her dad if he could take her to the hairdresser’s to get a new hairstyle. Dad agreed but only on the condition that she lose 10 to 15 pounds. Now, I should tell you that I know this little girl and she is 10 years old, beautiful, artistic, caring, shorter than my own daughter, weighs 87 pounds and is NOT FAT. But what if she was? What kind of parent puts that on their kid anyways? What is she supposed to do with this information? What does any child know about calories, diets and working out? She’s not supposed to know anything. This is (borderline?) child abuse. How about actually parenting?! Educate your child about health, food, the nutrients a growing body needs and why physical activity is important. How about making an appointment with the pediatrician to address your concerns or questions about your daughter’s well being and physical appearance rather than assuming she needs to cut back on food?

My daughter (as well as other friends) told her that she is not fat and that she should tell her mother, but she won’t because she is afraid her dad will get mad at her. Instead she went and spoke to her dad again the following day, asking him if he was serious about her needing to lose weight. He said yes. My daughter asked her what she planned on doing. She shrugged her shoulders and said she would do “sit-ups and stuff every day”.

I would be lying if my daughter never brought up the word ‘fat’ about herself. It started about a year ago. The nine- to 12-year-old range is when a young girl’s body starts changing (for those who don’t know it’s called puberty–duh!). They have to deal with a bunch of new stuff like their hips growing wider, wearing deodorant, bras and being taller than most boys their age. It’s an embarrassing and confusing time. Our daughters need confirmation that there is nothing wrong with them. “…you will find out that these changes are important for your health and they are a normal part of growing up. You will also gain weight during this time. This is normal…” – ChildrensHealthNetwork.org.

So, congratulations, dad! The first man in your daughter’s life. You are supposed to be a hero. To make your daughter feel beautiful and smart, worthy of anything and anyone so that she has those high standards when choosing people in her life, like boyfriends. Now the message is: “What’s the point of even having pretty hair if the rest of me doesn’t measure up? And I don’t… and it must be true because daddy said so.” PIG.

This is the kind of hurt that can never be undone. How does a 10-year-old lose weight with no help or guidance? Will this lead to her googling ‘weight loss’ on her ipod at bedtime? Will she learn to skip meals or become full-on bulimic? This summer, will she still get excited about putting on her bathing suit and giggle through the sprinkler or will she be too self-conscious to wear anything other than a baggy T-shirt? Ladies, let’s make sure we have this talk with our daughters, nieces, girlfriends and sisters…and of course let’s educate our men so that they don’t make the same mistake as this moron-dad!

Email me your thoughts: JulieLovesHome@gmail.com


Published January 22nd, 2014 / Vaudreuil Soulange Gazette

Published February 17th, 2014 / Chelsea Foundation

Interested on finding out more about tween girls and puberty?  Here are some really helpful links:

Dr. OZ answers question: As a teen how can I tell if I’m gaining too much weight? / Mehmet Oz, MD, Cardiology, answeredThroughout your teen years, you’re likely to gain both height and weight rapidly. Sometimes that may be just fine. For example, girls will gain body fat in puberty, particularly in the hips. The best way to start figuring out if you’re gaining too much weight is to check the BMI Percentile Calculator for Child and Teen. This index, calculated from height and weight, takes into account what is normal for younger boys and girls. It’s not definitive, though, since everyone changes at different rates. If your BMI tells you that you may be overweight, a visit to your doctor can confirm it, and he or she may suggest a healthy weight loss program.

Dr. Phil: How to raise your daughters’ self esteem

Children’s Physician Network: Puberty For Girls

The Daily Mail: Is it right to tell a child she’s fat?

You might also like:


Parenting is hard -Dammit!

The top 10 parenting tips I’ve learned so far.

I’m well out of the diapers. With an almost 15 year old, 13 year old and a 9 year old you would think it would all be easier by now. In many cases it is, I had imagined that at this point it would be smooth sailing. But it’s not, it’s just different.

When you have babies and toddlers, you need to be in great physical shape to handle the long days of noise, tantrums, questions, feedings, the need to stimulate, distract, sooth, snuggle, teach, nurse, make play dates, reprimand and toilet train! It’s exhausting. And to be honest even though we lived 800 km from family and my husband travelled a lot, I rocked at it. Finding the time to even iron, mow the lawn, paint the house, bake cookies and reupholster a sofa! It’s why I am convinced biologically our bodies are made to have babies young because I know I could never do all of that now on 2.5 hours of sleep. Stamina in phase one of parenting is what helped make me an awesome parent.

The next stage however is all brains and little body, the only difference outsiders will notice though is how you look less cute in your jeans. Muscle tone gone from the required pick up and chasing, phase two finds your babies don’t want you to touch them very much at all, let alone pick them up! You need to stand your ground, make tough calls, have thoughtful conversations and not become frustrated and angry when faced with insults or laziness. You worry about their friends, their grades, their futures, the Internet, drugs and where they once shared every detail, burp, emotion and bowel movement now you have to play detective. Asking the wrong question or too many can make them clam up and send them storming to their bedrooms.

Here are the top 10 parenting tips I can proudly pass on so far:

1. Plan on having zero restful nights until your child is at least 4 years old. You have my permission to doubt those who claim their babies slept through the night starting at 3 months.
2. Always be (age appropriate) honest with your child (babies don’t come out of a magician’s black hat – but thanks mom).
3. Never sit on the toilet seat without inspecting it first.
4. Bring snacks, entertainment and baby wipes long after they are out of diapers, everywhere you go.
5. Fresh air will always tire them out, no matter what the age.
6. Have the birds and the bees talk when your gut tells you … and keep having it. They will have more question later, make sure they know it’s not wrong to talk about this stuff.
7. Teach them about healthy eating, don’t give in when most of dinner ends up in the trash. They will get it and make good choices on their own eventually.
8. Homework is hard on both them and you – but remember you are your child’s cheerleader.
9. Try not to cave from your morals, values and house rules; remember the person you want your child to become.
10. When I was pregnant with child #2, I had a client tell me, “The older the child, the bigger their problems.” So true. Secretly laugh at the fact that your pre-schooler cut Susie’s bangs with the scissors he found in the craft drawer. Hair grows back, it’s not the end of the world. You will be wishing for those simple problems in a few years!

By Julie Cadieux published on:

The Hudson St-Lazare Gazette – Oct 3 2012

The Chelsea Foundation – Oct 4 2012

StitchinGirlMary.wordpress.com – Oct 4 2012

St. Lazare coping with trash transition

The result of St. Lazare’s two-bin this year and one-bin next year garbage collection? This pile of trash, left over after a move, should have been transported to one of the municipal public works dumpsters. (Gazette, Richard Meades)


ST. LAZARE — It’s been a month since residents were forced to begin complying with the municipality’s new one-to-two-bin garbage pickup policy and already, there are changes to ease the transition.

“The town gave us one bin, but apparently we can have two — but they won’t give us or sell us another one” says Laurie-Anne, a five-year resident. The city supplied every household with one 240-litre wheeled bin last fall — then relaxed the rules to allow residents to buy their own second wheeled bin of up to 360 litres, but just for this one year.

“I am tempted to go out and buy one, but they cost over $100 and I won’t be able to use it next year,” says Laurie-Anne. Next year residents will be down to a single bin, either the 240-litre bin from the city or their own 360-litre bin.
By 2014 everyone will be required to use one 240-litre bin.

“Even though two bins might seem harsh, the city of St. Lazare is rather late compared to other cities that have been imposing one bin for several years,” said the town’s communications director Geneviève Hamel.

It’s clear something needed to be done when the average Quebecker produces 272 kilos of trash compared to St. Lazare’s 400 kilos. Last summer council members approved the new mandatory trash bins to begin conforming to the MRC’s guidelines of a 60-percent reduction in organic waste by 2014 and zero organic waste by 2021. While some councillors favoured a return to the 52-week schedule and limiting pickup to one bin per household, it was District 4 councillor Michel Lambert who argued for retaining the 36-week schedule, allowing two bins for the first year and adding a monthly large-item pickup for the time it takes to open the four regional eco-centres. (The first, on Henri-Ford in Vaudreuil-Dorion, will open later this year.)

For situations such as the one in the photo, residents can take advantage of dumpsters located at the municipal garage, 1875 avenue Bedard on the chemin Sainte-Elisabeth side. They’re available 24 hours a day, said District 3 councillor Brigitte Asselin. However only garbage and/or recycling surplus can be brought there — large objects must be collected on the first garbage pickup of the month.

While most agree with the concept of reducing waste, some find the adjustment difficult. I had guests over Christmas and a huge New Year’s Eve party and two families living at my house for four days and was expected to magically get rid of all of this trash in one small bin. Others have admitted to illegal dumping. “There is lots of new construction where we live, so I add my extra trash in the dumpsters,” said one. “Who wants to put stinky, leaking two-week-old trash that the garbage man didn’t want to pick up and put it in their car and drive it somewhere?” added another.

For couples or residents living alone the transition hasn’t been a big deal. “One bin is plenty for us, but I do find I am more careful about recycling, knowing I don’t have unlimited trash anymore,” said Dwight, a single dad.
“I find the great majority of residents understand and agree with the direction taken,” said District 5 councillor Gilbert Arsenault. “When we decided to go ahead with this reduction plan, we knew many of us would need to adjust. This is why we planned and implemented transition measures.”

The Hudson St-Lazare Gazette – Wednesday February 1st, 2012 – Julie Cadieux