Kids learn from us as adults and when they see these behaviors they are often intrigued or may feel pressured to do the same; look the same.
We asked our community to tell us why it’s time to better equip adults to help children develop healthy relationships with food and body. Danielle shared her perspective.
“From truth and purpose she will not budge, her life’s decree; God is my Judge.” This is the meaning of my name and oh so fitting. I was a strong-willed child from the start. I also learned that I had to please no one or be perfect for no one. How could I after all? I only had to please my Father in Heaven. My God; for he is my judge.
That strong will and clinging to what I believed to be true only fed my obsession to food and exercise. I was officially diagnosed and then hospitalized for the first time at age 14. It would be the beginning of a 30+ year death match with Anorexia Nervosa and then Bulimia as well.
Trying to understand the meaning behind the “secret” language of eating disorders can be hard, confusing and at times, heartbreaking. The taboo of talking about food may or may not be necessary depending on the specific behaviors or illness. I only wish I had received more positive messages concerning my body as a child. I believe it starts with love. If there is something missing anywhere in one’s life or if there has been harm done; perhaps what may appear to be only slight in a parent or teachers’ eyes may lead a sensitive person like me down a self-destructive road.
I only wish I had received more positive messages concerning my body as a child.
We need to talk, not shut down. Talking and expressing ourselves is vital to someone who is struggling with loving and accepting themselves. It’s important to be able to not run from our stress, fear, feelings; our pain. We need to teach our children that we are human “BE-ings”, not human “Do-ings”; and to be able to just sit with themselves and be okay. I personally believe faith plays an enormous role in this endeavor. Faith in something greater than oneself and then faith in oneself.
We as humans and specifically women, (also men), have trouble with pleasing everyone as well. Kids want to please their parents, teachers, coaches etc. I myself have a difficult time saying no. “No” is a complete sentence. We do not need to add any explanations, it will never be good enough. Children must be made to believe in their own power and strength and be taught that their outer appearance or physical strength can is not what makes them truly special.
Food is all around us, therefore how can we shut it out? I believe dieting and extreme exercise in front of children or someone who may be developing an eating disorder, (or anyone really), sends a horrible message.
There’s the word “die” in diet for a reason; it’s a deliberate attempt to starve the body. The same external mechanism used by those suffering with eating disorders. Kids learn from us as adults and when they see these behaviors they are often intrigued or may feel pressured to do the same; look the same. Our bodies are special and uniquely designed to do so much. How can we shut them down?
Food needs to be seen as fuel for our bodies. Eating food, in and of itself is neither good nor bad. It brings us life and helps make life. It sustains us and is absolutely necessary for one to exist. Helping kids understand this first is important. Let them know there can be pleasure in enjoying food. Using all the senses and actually taking the time to taste. I believe a child should not correlate food and eating with loving their bodies. Let’s separate the two: I eat food and drink water to live. I love and appreciate my body; it is intricate and unique.