Have you read Carolyn Coker Ross, M.D.'s blog on children and eating disorders? I thought she did a great job on talking about the important things that parents, especially mothers, can do to help avoid negative messages. She sees girls in her practice who tell her they first learned to dislike their bodies or learned to diet from women in their families, including their mothers.
I think these suggestions Carolyn shares are all very good, and I would like to have seen the issue addressed that mother's don't cause eating disorders.
Here are my summaries of Dr. Coker Ross's excellent points:
1. Watch your comments about body dissatisfaction in front of your children.
2. Don't go overboard on focusing on healthy eating and calling some foods good and some bad.
3. If you have heavier children don't fight obesity but exercise together as a family, eat together and accept genetics.
4. Build up self-esteem with good qualities other than appearance.
I think these are all great approaches and I feel it is imperative to stress that eating disorders are complex, multi-faceted bio-psycho-social disorders caused by a combination of many factors. Don't beat yourself up mom's if you have made some mistakes, this is only a part of the puzzle. Take these suggestions and use them to improve your parenting, not to blame yourself.
We've had enough blaming of mom's and it isn't helpful for anyone. Let's make sure when we give mom's suggestions that we include the information that they alone can't cause eating disorders.
See Dr. Coker Ross's blog here: