3. Limit “fat talk.” It is no secret that children often mimic their parents’ behaviors. Negative commentary about your appearance, known as “fat talk,” is no exception. Make a New Year’s resolution to avoid negative comments and instead, make a point to offer comments that convey confidence and positivity in regards to your own body image and that of your children as well.
4. Be conscientious when commenting on the appearance of others. Both criticism and compliments can suggest that there are “good” and “bad” body shapes and sizes. Make a New Year’s resolution to avoid these types of comments in order to help children develop their own positive definition of beauty. Remember, it is not how your body looks in the mirror, but what your body does for you that matters.
An important note: Eating disorders have a strong genetic component. Therefore, children with a family history of anorexia, bulimia or binge eating disorder can have an increased susceptibility to disordered eating behaviors and body image issues.
Regardless of family history, parents should be mindful of how their own comments and actions may affect their children—particularly during this weight-focused time of year. Early recognition of eating disorders warning signs can increase a child’s chances of lasting recovery. Should a child demonstrate any sort of troubling food or body image behaviors that may indicate disordered eating, parents are encouraged to seek treatment from a qualified eating disorders professional.
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