Scared to Eat
There are many ways parents can help their kids develop and maintain a healthy relationship with food and a positive opinion of their bodies. Here are some tips to help foster those healthy attitudes:
- Are you constantly dieting and/or preoccupied with your weight and thinness? If so, you may be promoting negative attitudes about food and weight to your children. Work on your own weight and appearance issues.
- Don't criticize your children's bodies. Even a well-meaning "you're a big boy but you could lose a few pounds," can devastate a young child's self-esteem.
- Don't talk in front of your children about your dieting, your displeasure with your body, or the fat content of foods.
- Stock a variety of healthy, appealing foods and snacks in your house. Don' be afraid to include some sweets.
- Avoid eating lots of "diet foods."
- Don't brush off your children's comments about their being fat.
- Empathize with their worries while putting their concerns in perspective.
- Don't put your kids on restricted diets unless it's a medical necessity.
- Make exercise a fun family pastime. Explain to them that regular, moderate exercise will help make them fit and strong, not thin.
- Limit TV time to a few favorite shows per week.
- Compliment your kids often on attributes other than appearance, like their honesty, humor, and imagination.
Books:Wasted: A Memoir of Anorexia and Bulimia by Marya Hornbacher
The Secret Language of Eating Disorders: The Revolutionary New Approach to Curing Anorexia and Bulimia by Peggy Claude-Pierre
The Best Little Girl in the World by Steven Levenkron (fiction for young adults)
Surviving an Eating Disorder: New Perspectives and Strategies for Family and Friends by Michele Siegel, Judith Brisman, Margor Weinshel
The Body Project: An Intimate History of American Girls by Joan Jacobs Brumberg (not specifically about eating disorders, but a currently popular book about the relationship girls have with their bodies)
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