Even if your child is not exhibiting any signs that they may suffer from an eating disorder, or are heading that direction, eating disorders such as anorexia are becoming far too common amongst children and teens. There are things you can do to avoid anorexia in your children and teens, and to help them to never feel the need to have an eating disorder. The following are tips for what you as a parent can do to help your child never suffer from anorexia or other related eating disorders:
1. Set a good example. Honestly this is probably the biggest thing parents can do. Your children learn from what you do, and your habits when it comes to body image, eating, and weight are passed on down. So, ask yourself the following questions:
· Are you always dieting?
· Do you talk constantly about losing weight or about how fat you are?
· Do you habitually use diet pills, laxatives, or other diuretics for weight control purposes?
· Do you regularly resort to food in order to manage stress?
· Do you buy or serve junk food to your children on a regular basis?
· Do you tease or criticize your children because you think they are too fat or too thin?
The fact is whether you answered yes to one or to all of these questions, that is more than you should be answering yes to. You can help your child avoid anorexia by changing bad habits and setting a good example. Even if you need to diet, that is not something you should be discussing with your child, and if you do, be sure that you help them understand the proper way to do it, nutrition, and other factors. If you are worried about how to approach it, you can call a treatment center for anorexia and ask them what they recommend.
Monitor your child’s eating habits.
Setting a good example will help your children and teens to adopt good dietary habits and an appreciation for good health.
2. Limit television and magazine viewing. Unfortunately in the modern western culture thin is in, and ultra thin is considered to be the ultra cool thing. Television is littered with commercials and ad campaigns that reinforce the idea that being thin is the only way to be. Actresses are getting thinner, models used on television and in print are still too skinny, and this only encourages the ideal in young girls that in order to be beautiful you have to be super skinny. If you are going to let your child watch a lot of television, or look through fashion magazines it is important that you help them develop a real sense of beauty, and help them recognize that health is more important than weight. Instead of letting them reinforce in their minds that super skinny is the only option, help them see that they have worth, and are beautiful. If you hear your daughter say something negative about her body, follow it up with something positive. Help them see their strengths.
3. Promote healthy eating habits in your kids. If you teach your child healthy eating habits and help them recognize when their eating patterns are potentially harmful, they will be far less likely to succumb to a problem like anorexia. Eat meals as a family so you can monitor their behavior and eating habits, and to give you opportunity to discuss and show healthy eating.