Saturday, December 19, 2015

How To Protect Your Child From An Eating Disorder

There is no doubt that many young individuals go through an identity crisis at some point. It is very common among teenage girls to be caught up in the desire to be stick thin. For some reason, runway models seem to be the ideal projections of a woman's figure hence teenage girls are very likely to subscribe to this image, and aim to achieve it. I was watching a TV show recently where a young girl confessed to a 'chew and spit' technique as a way of keeping herself thin, with the intention of losing a further 20kg. Needless to say, her parents were distraught, at crossroads, and unable to make her stop.

The big question of course is how do you know if your child has an eating disorder? Some children are so good at eating their disorders, it is almost impossible for their parents to tell until the physical signs start to show. The very first sign to look out for is when your child starts to cut down drastically on food. Look out for dinners left untouched for many consecutive days, or foods where only certain food groups are consumed because they have lower calories. In this case, try to include healthier and wholesome options in your meals. Don't encourage an eating disorder by filling the house up with sugar, unhealthy carbohydrates and unhealthy fats. Rather fill up the refrigerator with fruits vegetables, lean meats, omega 3 and 6 fats etc. With such choices available, you will be able to convince your child to eat more.

Secondly listen attentively for any adverse body image talk. Teenagers are likely to express dissatisfaction with their bodies before they indulge in eating disorders. It is the first stage of the process where they try to reassure themselves they have a valid reason for indulging in an eating disorder, and if there are no protests strong enough to change their minds, they are likely to go into it in full swing. Listen to what they say about their bodies; is it negative or positive talk? If it is positive, reinforce it. If it is negative, address it. Reassure your child of how awesome her body is, and how it makes her stand out in a good way.

Thirdly, make sure you have a healthy relationship with food as a parent. Teenagers are very likely to copy behaviors expressed by their parents so if you have an unhealthy relationship with food, chances are your child will too. So it is important that you address your attitude first. Eat healthy portions of healthy food groups. It will encourage your child to do the same.


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