Parents are kids’ default body image educators

Whether we like it or not, parents are our kids’ default body image educators. This means that even if we never intentionally address body image with our kids, they’re still learning from us. It’s a little overwhelming to think about, but it’s also empowering. We can make a huge impact on how our kids feel about their bodies, and we …

Low self-worth and eating disorders: what parents need to know

by Beth Mayer, LICSW There is a high correlation between eating disorders and low self-worth. Because of this, when I’m working with clients who have eating disorders, I’m watching carefully for self-worth, self-compassion, and perfectionism. The more my clients build the first three and limit perfectionism, the greater their chance of entering recovery from their eating disorders.  What is self-worth? …

Intuitive Eating to prevent and treat eating disorders

It is possible to prevent and treat eating disorders. New research suggests that Intuitive Eating may help. A recent study found that teens who eat intuitively have better mental health outcomes and eating habits as adults. This is important, because most of our kids are not being raised with Intuitive Eating principles. As a culture, we largely embrace non-intuitive eating. …

Anorexia is just as serious at higher weights

Most people assume that low body weight is the greatest risk factor for anorexia. Almost everyone assumes that someone who has anorexia appears emaciated. It has always been believed that being underweight is the reason anorexia is so dangerous. However, research shows that low weight is not the greatest risk factor of anorexia. In fact, “atypical anorexia nervosa” is both …

Negotiating with your child who has an eating disorder

Negotiating with a child who has an eating disorder can feel like negotiating with a terrorist. And we all know that you shouldn’t negotiate with terrorists, right? When your child has an eating disorder, the negotiations often seem bizarre and infuriating. Most of the time, parents just want their child to eat. It just doesn’t seem like something that needs …

How to raise a child with better body image

By Alex Raymond, RD, LD, CEDRD Most parents hope their child will grow up with a positive sense of self and a positive body image. And most parents wish the best for their children and dread the day their children believe there is something “wrong” with their bodies. Or the day some kid at school makes fun of them for …

Opt out of school weight programs: don’t weigh my child at school

More and more schools are weighing kids, but you usually have the option to opt out of school weight programs. It’s an option worth considering regardless of your child’s individual weight status. School weigh-ins are upsetting and stressful for most kids. Parents should be asking hard questions about the practice of weighing kids at school. For example: Why should the …

A mom's story: An eating disorder? No, not my child!

A mom’s story: An eating disorder? No, not my child!

Following is an excerpt from the book By Their Side: A Resource for Caretakers and Loved Ones Facing an Eating Disorder. The book is filled with personal anecdotes and helpful advice for parents who are facing a child’s eating disorder diagnosis and recovery. An eating disorder? I didn’t even know what an eating disorder was! But what I did know …

Here's how parents can teach self-care to kids

Here’s how parents can teach self-care to kids

Parents who teach their kids self-care can make a huge impact on their lifetime health and wellness. Kids who have eating disorders, disordered eating, and body hate often struggle with poor self-care habits. Unless parents step up and teach these kids self-care, it’s very possible that they will struggle with mental health issues for life. What is self-care? Self-care is …

EEEWWW! Addressing the Gross Factor of Bulimia

Do you think that bulimia is gross? Bulimia often feels shameful, both for the people who have it and the people who love them. A lot of people think bulimia is the ickiest form of disordered eating. But let’s try to shift our perspective to one of love. Let’s evaluate why the person who has bulimia developed an eating disorder …

Why adult kids don't come home for the holidays

Why adult kids don’t come home for the holidays

Very few parents envision a future in which their adult kids don’t come home for the holidays. In fact, most of us picture a future in which we are surrounded by a loving, happy family of our kids and their kids, multiple generations joyously spending time together on special occasions. But the fact is that many adult children dread coming …

Real stories from parents who have kids who have ARFID

Real stories from parents who have kids who have ARFID

Parents who have kids with avoidant/restrictive food intake disorder (ARFID) face challenges not just in feeding their kids and keeping them healthy, but also in accessing treatment. ARFID is an eating disorder. Its symptoms include strong food aversions and food avoidance. These symptoms exist without the desire to lose weight or change the body size or shape. ARFID is characterized …

Parent coaching and/or therapy when your child has an eating disorder

Parent coaching and/or therapy when your child has an eating disorder

If your child has an eating disorder, you may be surprised to hear that their recovery will likely improve if you get parent coaching or therapy. This can be really annoying. After all, aren’t they the one with the problem? Your only problem is that your kid is a nightmare! Otherwise, everything’s fine! Sound familiar? We live in family ecosystems …

What to do about your child's anxiety about food and eating

What to do about your child’s anxiety about food and eating

Having anxiety about food and eating shows up in many eating disorders, especially anorexia and orthorexia. If your child has an eating disorder, it’s very likely they are struggling with a lot of anxiety around food and eating. It’s really frustrating to watch a child refuse to eat and have complete meltdowns over meals. This is advanced parenting, but you …

Ask Ginny: My son is overeating and sneaking food

Ask Ginny: My son is overeating and sneaking food

Dear Ginny, My son has a problem with overeating. Once he starts eating, he can’t stop, and sometimes he eats so much that he actually throws up. I recently found out that he has been hiding food from me and sneak-eating behind my back. He’s always been on the larger side, and now he’s gaining A LOT of weight. He’s …