As parents, we are faced with the constant struggle to guide and lead our children to their greatest potential. But sometimes our greatest intentions backfire in the form of over-parenting, which involves failing to see our children for who they really are – not just who we think they are or who we want them to be.
I think this is especially hard when we have a daughter with binge eating disorder or bulimia, which often leaves her overweight, bloated, and visually less attractive than we feel she could be.
There are many messages that pop into the head of a parent who has an overweight daughter. If your beautiful daughter is overweight, you may consciously think things like:
She would be so much happier if she were thin.
She wouldn’t be bullied if she were thin.
She would be so pretty if she were thin.
These are very common thoughts for parents who have a daughter who is overweight, but if you look deeper, it’s very possible that your real fears are about you – not her.
I would be so much happier if she were thin.
I wouldn’t feel like a bad mom if she were thin.
I would feel better about her if she were thin.
There is a huge movement towards body acceptance at every size. Consider learning more about body positivity so that you can eliminate weight-based thoughts about your daughter, and instead focus on her health – inside and out.
By addressing your unspoken thoughts about your daughter’s weight, you will be better prepared to support her through recovery from her eating disorder, especially if it is binge eating disorder or bulimia.
If your daughter is a dahlia, you cannot love, shame, or force her to become a peony. Love her for who she is – not who you think she could be.
Check out The Body Positive for resources and information about weight bias and loving the body you – and your daughter – have.