Parents with eating disorders: How not to pass it on to my child?

You’re not going to serve yourself again, anyway! “,” You took the thighs. “,” At your age, you should have that weight, no more. “… a lot of phrases heard in childhood or adolescence that resonate in your head and make you feel guilty even today. These include education and family. The causes contribute to eating disorders. If a parent is obsessed with their weight or suffers from an eating disorder (anorexia, bulimia, or bipolar disorder), the child may feel it and pay the price. But then, how to avoid infection of his neuroses?

Where does eating disorder come from?

According to an Ipsos study for Qare, 44% of French women suffer from food imbalances. For Carey’s psychiatrist and mental health director, Dr. Fanny Jack, these disorders are rooted in a number of factors: advocacy of thinning by the media and social networks, “food cacophony” and all the nutritional orders that disconnect from pleasure. Eat … but also education, and guilt that can come from the people around us. ” There is what is called Parent model. A child that sees his mother always dieting, for example, is a risk factor. When eating is no longer a pleasure but a limitation for parents, the child feels it. Especially if the adult hangs his own neuros on his children, for example through derogatory comments about his weight and his eating habits. The child will then integrate negative perceptions of food and learn to perceive food in a controlled manner.

Is eating disorder hereditary?

Eating Disorders (or TCAs) are not strictly hereditary, as they are not written in the genetic code. However, several studies confirm that parental models play a key role in food insecurity by children. Thus, a scientific publication shared in 2006 by the University of Cambridge confirms that babies of mothers with eating disorders exhibit unhealthy eating attitudes and habits and are at risk of developing eating disorder-related psychopathology. Two main factors are at work: the duration of exposure to maternal disorders and the severity of the conflict during feeding at the age of 5 years.

On the other hand, children may also adopt the eating habits of their parents due to loyalty or complacency. Studies have shown that children imitate their parents’ eating habits, such as vomiting themselves or avoiding food. In a 1995 study published in the Wiley Online Library, researchers even described (fortunately) extremely rare events. ” Two anorexia 8, a kind of distant cousin of “crazy for two”. In other words, the child absorbs his or her parent’s illness in such a way that he or she becomes sick in turn and submits to the parent’s food pattern. Surveys even report that mothers would be most anorexic to see who competes with their own daughter. This is an extreme case, but it exists!

Family effects and eating disorders: Evidence

This reality, Clementine assures us of this. The 21-year-old has been suffering from anorexia nervosa for almost 5 years. He explains to us that his family was not unfamiliar with his neuroses, although they are not the root cause. ” My parents and my in-laws are always very caring about their image. I don’t blame them, because I think I would have become anorexic no matter what, but their relationship with their body, food and their speech didn’t help me. “You have to eat light in the evening”, “We’re going light today because we’ve been going to restaurants for two days”, “I’ve had too much lunch, I haven’t eaten tonight”, are sentences I’ve heard since I was very young. My dad set up a weight room in his garage and exercised every day. My mom looks in the mirror and touches her “fat” saying it’s “ugly”. This has always been the search for the perfect body. This family environment was fertile ground for the food imbalance of the young lady. ” Five years ago, when I wanted to lose weight (when I was just 59 kg for 1m75), my parents encouraged me in this process. When I complained, they would sometimes tell me that I had eaten too much, I hadn’t exercised enough, or that I was too old for a snack. These are the little thoughts that stuck in my mind. A

If you think you have an eating disorder or anxiety, the first step is to take care of your mental health and refer you to a professional such as a psychologist, psychiatrist or nutritionist who specializes in the problem. By taking care of yourself and taking a step on yourself you will be able to handle these questions as much as possible.

Next, the important thing is to communicate with your children. The latter have a disposition and will understand that there is a problem, whatever happens! So, if you only want to go on a diet, let them know that it is your choice, and you can do it because you are an adult. Same thing if you have a eating disorder. Prohibiting it will do no good except cultivate your child’s questions. Talk to him in your own words without worrying too much.

Finally, try as much as possible not to transfer your own concerns to him. Let him be greedy! A child who has never had the right to eat chocolate in his daily life will be forced to eat it whenever he gets a chance.

Beware of orthorexia!

By wanting to give their family the best nutrition, some parents fall prey to orthorexia or healthy eating. Systematically checking labels, accepting only organic products, rejecting processed foods… these extra initiatives, albeit immersed in good intentions, are motivated by fear and disconnect from the pleasure of eating. All of this can be transmitted to children! A balance should be found between “healthy eating” and “eating happily”. If you feel that you are losing your legs, do not hesitate to go to a mental health professional or dietitian / nutritionist.

My teenager wants to follow my diet, will I allow her?

You are currently on a diet and your teenager wants to do this with you For Dr. Fanny Jack, any dietary restrictions or diet must be supervised by a nutritionist, especially during childhood and adolescence. Experts also invite us to understand why this desire to go on a diet. Often, this desire will be rooted in a psychological discomfort, on which it may be interesting to work.

Identify eating disorders in children

For Dr. Fanny Jack, a child can suffer from an eating disorder at all. It will be characterized by a sudden desire to lose weight or gain weight or even a change in his eating habits: he refuses his dessert, finds excuses to avoid family meals, avoids sweets … If in doubt, consult (television) Specialist health professionals.

As mentioned above, eating disorders come from many causes, and not all the blame goes to the parents, let alone the sufferers. If you suffer from an eating disorder and you think you can pass it on to your children, the priority is to take care of your own health first, not to blame everything (too much).

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