I'm sure it's too late for most of you, but for the handful of parents who haven't started criticizing their kids' waistlines yet, I have a few words of advice:
1. Unconditional Love. Remember how you were supposed to love your kids unconditionally, no matter what -- even if they murdered somebody? Yeah, well, that should cover "even if they're fat" too. When you launch into criticisms the moment they walk through the door, it can definitely feel like "wow -- even my own Mom hates me." Do you want your kids to feel that way? Then knock it off. You're the PARENTS, for crying out loud. You're supposed to make them feel like even if everybody else on the planet bails, YOU will still be there.
Which leads me to 2. The guise of being helpful. Every news story says that skinny = good and fat = bad. Guess what: Jews know that there's another deity named Jesus, and fat people know that the culture would really prefer if they were skinny. It's not news. We know. We also know some things that conveniently get left off of the evening news, like the fact that 95% of all restricted calorie diets fail at the five year mark. Who here has ever lost 25 lbs. or more through restricting calories and increasing exercise? I see a lot of hands. Who kept if off for six months or longer? A few hands have gone down. Who kept it off for more than a year? More than two years? More than five? If any of you still have your hand raised, congratulations, you are among the lucky 5%. For the rest of you, ask yourself this: How would you feel if your doctor recommended a course of action that only had a 5% success rate? Yeah, I don't like those odds either.
So parents, when your kid walks through the door, don't pile on to all of the things you want to change about them. Give them a hug, welcome them home, and ask them about their lives. Who knows -- maybe they might even feel motivated to visit more often.