It is important to know some ways parents can prevent eating disorders from occurring in their children. Of course it is not possible to have absolute certainty that you can prevent them, but these things can certainly up your child’s chances of escaping them. These are simple but important ways parents can prevent eating disorders.
1. Don’t Talk about Their Weight
It is not a good idea to talk about your child’s weight with them unless you have to for the sake of their health. If that is the case, the subject should be handled very gently. If you don’t have to have that difficult discussion, it is best to not bring up the subject at all. Just talking to your child about their weight may make them more aware or even begin an obsession with it. If their weight is healthy and there is no reason to discuss it, avoid the subject. This is one of the best ways parents can prevent eating disorders.
2. Don’t Obsess over Your Own Weight
I think this is the hardest tip to follow. Many of us mothers, myself included, are conscious of either maintaining our weight or lowering it. It is not good for your child to hear you talk about this. They will pick up on it, even if you don’t talk directly to them about it. As a general rule, don’t discuss your weight within earshot of your child.
3. Encourage Them to Have Good Role Models
One thing I do love about some of the role models our children have these days is that they don’t focus on being extremely thin. One of my daughter’s role models is Jennifer Lawrence. She sends the message to enjoy eating and food in a healthy way. There are also many athletes that would make good role models because they focus on fitness, not weight. You can encourage your child to look to those role models instead of ones that emphasize weight.
4. Emphasize Being Healthy and Strong
Our society has not always focused on teaching our children to work toward being healthy and strong, especially girls, and that is too bad. This is a good thing to encourage your child toward. It goes hand in hand with good nutrition and exercise. If we teach them that being healthy and strong is important, that is what they will believe. It also helps if we believe and follow that too, as our example speaks loudly.
5. Don’t Compliment Them on Their Size
I fully believe our children need compliments from us. They need our encouragement and they need to know that they are beautiful, smart, strong and amazing in dozens of ways. There are hundreds of ways we can compliment them, including physically. Don’t compliment them on their size unless they have had a true weight problem and are overcoming it. Our children need to know that there are things that matter more than their size.
6. Provide Nutritious Foods
If you provide nutritious foods, it is highly unlikely your children will have a weight problem. They will most likely not be tempted to think about their weight because they will be a healthy weight. Eating healthy foods is a great prevention and treatment program for weight problems. If you haven’t always done this, you still can. Start buying healthier choices and less junk food.
7. Teach Them about Inner Beauty
Inner beauty is as important as outer beauty. In fact, I think it is even more important. It is wonderful to teach your child to try to look their best, but it is even more important to teach them to be a good person. Compassion, kindness and empathy are always beautiful to see, no matter the weight of the person or child.
These things help to prevent eating disorders in our children. What are your thoughts? I would love to hear them.