The Messages We Send Our Children About Food.

The age of children suffering from eating disorders seems to keep getting younger and younger. In a weight obsessed society, teaching children to have a positive self image and a healthy relationship with food can be a daunting task. Parents must be sensitive to the messages they convey to their children, both intentionally and unintentionally. They must be aware of their own attitudes concerning food and self image. The old adage is true, "actions speak louder than words." Could you be inadvertently sending your child the wrong message?

Has your child witnessed you:
*Complain about your weight?
*Put yourself down because of your weight?
*Eat too little?
*Replace meals with diet shakes or other diet products?
*Skip meals?
*Exercise obsessively?
*Miss an event because you were unhappy with your appearance?
*Serve meals to the family but not eat with them?
* Criticizing them for their appearance?

Children are constantly being bombarded with images of extremely thin women, presented as examples of beauty. Being a normal weight is often viewed as being overweight. Their already thin peers are striving to be thinner. The outside influences are many but parents can help arm their children so they are better prepared, more self-assured, and less likely to fall victim to an eating disorder.

Here are some ways you can be a positive influence on your child's relationship with food:
*Stock the house with healthy foods.
*Teach the importance of nutrition for proper development and health.
*Make positive comments about yourself even if you are not happy with your weight.
*Be generous with you praise of them.
*Sit down to dinner as a family as often as you can and keep it stress free.
*Involve them in food shopping and cooking meals.
*Empower them by letting them plan a healthy meal a couple of times a week.
*Allow mistakes without ridicule.
*Do not use food as a reward or punishment.

Parents can make a difference.

picture source: MrsMenopausal


Medusa said...

Another great post, MrsM.

Spreading the word to parents about how their behavior does affect their children's relationship with food is so important, and your suggestions on how they can be a positive role model to their children are excellent.

My blog: Medusa