As a parent you may never be able to control the views being sent to your children via the media, however there are ways you can help prevent eating disorders in the home.
Following are some tips for parents in relation to anorexia (first published in Durban’s CHILD magazine and used with their permission).
Be a good example
Young girls often follow the example of their mothers. If their mom is going on a diet, girls question whether they too should go on a diet? Avoid strict diets as they are neither healthy for you and they certainly do not set a good example to your children. If you learn to love your body as it is, you can influence your children to love their bodies too!
In our modern world, as children we learn that there are good foods and bad foods. We are told which foods will make us gain weight. When did food become more than simply food? Let us take away all this focus on food! Let your children grow up knowing food is necessary to help all of us grow and keep healthy. Thats all.
Disassociate F words
Increasing numbers of adolescents are brought up believing that food will make us fat. This leads to phobias about food when children are entering their teenage years at which stage appearances and looks become more important. If food will take away from appearance, children question why we should eat it. Instead, parents should rather try to associate the word food with health and energy.
Have you ever heard yourself say, She has gained weight, or She must be having a bad hair day? When youngsters hear their parents gossiping about others physical appearances it makes them self-conscience about their own looks. Even parents need to be reminded occasionally that if you cant say something nice, dont say anything at all.