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How to Raise an Eating Disorder-Free Child
Date:4/27/2009

for the sake of health, rather than weight control.
  • Do not judge your body in front of her -- avoid saying negative things about your body and never even glance in the mirror in a critical way at yourself.
  • Focus on all of her strengths outside of her body, but make it a point to tell her how beautiful she is.

  • However, Dr. Rosenfeld says, even if you do all the right things at home, a problem can still surface. "What is most important is that parents need to recognize the signs and trust their instincts. Oftentimes, parents ignore early signs because they feel that this problem would be a bad reflection of their parenting and love for their child. If parents witness the signs and jump in early, they can get their child off a dangerous path. It can be a matter of life or death."

    Signs of trouble:

    • A significant drop in weight, which is especially concerning as she should be gaining weight during these years.
    • Exhibiting changes in eating habits like skipping meals, cutting out certain foods from her diet, playing around with her food more at the dinner table.
    • Telling you often that ate already at a friend's or relative's house, or that she will take breakfast with her to eat at school, in order to skip meals.
    • Evidence of purging behaviors - - laxatives, diet pills, diuretics - - and there may be signs that she is vomiting after meals (i.e. she excuses herself immediately after a meal to use the bathroom or drinking excessive fluids during meals).
    • A growing focus on her appearance, weighing herself more frequently, spending more time in front of the mirror. While this is relatively normal for pre-adolescent girls, it is a matter of degree. If yo
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