Eating disorders and children: the decalogue of the responsible parent


Nourishing is an association that has been committed for years to the prevention, treatment and knowledge of eating disorders, an increasingly widespread scourge within the social fabric of the Paeseno, the daughter of psychophysical predispositions but also of little knowledge of nutrition.

Decalogue of the responsible parent

To prevent the onset of eating disorders, the association has created the "Decalogue of the responsible parent" to better guide the best approach for their children with food. Parents, say from the association, can be an active part of solving the problem.

1) Be a safe base for your children

Parents, especially in the first years of life, have the task of looking after and protecting their children, following the lines of development of the little ones first and then of the boys. “You are strong, you can do it yourself” is a positive encouragement, if age appropriate. On the other hand, it is different, and inappropriate, to say “By now you are great, you have to see it yourself” or “she doesn't cry! Shame on you, at your age ".

2) Encourage exploration

Parents have, at the same time, the task of letting their children explore the world, without blaming them for the shorter time spent with the family, leaving the "front door always open" in times of need. It is recommended that you talk to your children using encouraging phrases such as “Have fun! You'll be fine with your friends! ”, Instead of“ Go on holiday with your friends, we'll be here alone ”.

3) Pay attention to the type of relationship

The parent should have in mind the concept of just distance in the relationship and allow, in mutual respect, ample freedom of expression of their feelings in the family. The parent, therefore, does not act as the child's best friend or even as a judge of his behavior. Hypercritical parents, as well as parents who are not attentive to borders, risk creating a climate of insecurity and lack of trust within the family. It is advisable to use phrases such as “If you feel like you can tell me about it” and to avoid phrases (with connected attitudes): “I want to be my daughter's best friend”. "When my daughter and I go around, people don't know if I am the mother or the sister." "There must be no secrets between me and my children".

4) Feed self-esteem

The ideal life plan of a parent does not always match the real plan of the children. The latter are not to be considered extensions of the self, but individuals with intentions and desires who, although different, deserve respect and attention. "I know what's best for you" does not always represent the same point of view between parent and child.

5) Encourage autonomy

A widespread problem is the difficulty of parents in letting go of their children as they enter early adulthood. It is important to promote their autonomy, by transmitting trust and support in their ability to walk alone, for example with phrases such as: “Courage! You can do it, we believe in you and you can ask for our help if you feel the need ". It is necessary to avoid "overprotective" attitudes, supported by phrases such as: "Thank goodness we are, alone you could not do it" or excessive thrust "Don't be a mammon, now you are great!".

6) Facing difficulties and not avoiding them

When difficulties arise in children or in the family, it is necessary to create the conditions so that this discomfort can be recognized and expressed, preparing for the bursting into the living room of tensions. It is best to avoid the strategy of "pretending" or making accusations, expressing resentments, or trying to arouse guilt in the child. Parents are advised to have an open attitude to dialogue and emotions with phrases such as: "I understand you are sad / angry, we can talk about it if you want". Avoiding the use of 'family rules' such as: "In our house we must always be serene".

7) Listen consciously

In the face of a daughter who is trying to express her discomfort, try to orient yourself towards phrases such as: "We are very sorry you are sick, give us the opportunity to help you and help us understand how we can do it" instead of "Why are you doing it this?" or “Dad and I are tired, can't you see? This is not the time to come up with certain things of yours! ”.

8) Demythification of the body image

Unfortunately, many girls today are pathologically focused on shape and body weight. In the family, these aspects need to be normalized as much as possible, thus avoiding showing excessive attention, making comparisons or negative observations on a body that is naturally developing and changing. Parents need to gently observe this change and be ready to reinforce the girl's self-worth regardless of physical appearance. Phrases such as: "There is no right or wrong body" or "How good are you today!" Are recommended. "How do you feel?" instead of "Look how you got chubby" or "Of course that friend of yours, so beautiful and thin, she really makes a great impression!".

9) Look at your plate

When the relationship with food is a preponderant part of the problem, the obsession with food must not be further reinforced. At the table, any comment on food should be avoided. Everyone is required to look at their plate and possibly chat about how their respective days went. It is better to use phrases like: "Another piece of cake can hurt you, keep it for tomorrow so you will enjoy it more" instead of "If you go on binging like this, you will end up like your aunt ...".

10) Seeking solutions with empathy

Parents often argue that in the face of a dietary difficulty or with respect to a discomfort in the body aspect, everything can be overcome simply with good will. The eating disorder does not depend on the good will of the subject, nor is it linked to his intelligence. Parents can help by addressing their children in difficulty with phrases such as: "We would like to find the most suitable way with you to make you feel better" instead of "For me, psychotherapy is not needed, a little good will would be enough to recover. to eat ”or“ I don't understand how such an intelligent girl can behave like this ”.

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A help desk

Nutrimente then activated one telephone counter, Teen Nutritional Help, which allows families to compare free of charge with psychology experts and nutritionists, to address the problem of eating disorders.

"Parents are often the first to be blamed if the health of their children is not optimal and the service was created to give professional support not only to children in need, but above all to mothers and fathers and their concerns."

The service was launched in summertime precisely because it is a crucial moment in which food pathologies begin to flare up.

The request for help can be activated by sending an email to:

Eating disorders and children: the decalogue of the responsible parent

(Read all about children and eating disorders)

See also the video: feeding the child 7-10 years old

  • disorders
  • teen nutritional help
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  • 3-5 children years
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