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

ur daughter tells you she cannot go to school because she looks fat, it should be taken seriously.
What to do:
  • Talk to her about the physical and psychological risks associated with eating disorders: dropping below a certain weight can affect your ability to have children; using laxatives or diuretics and engaging in self-induced vomiting damages the gastro-intestinal track and teeth, and can lead to life-threatening electrolyte imbalances.
  • If you have clear evidence, approach her from a non-judgmental stance. Give evidence of her behavior and reflect on how common disordered eating is. Ask her if she is struggling with her eating and how she feels about her body. Anticipate that she will be defensive, and be sure to remain empathic.
  • Tell her that sometimes it helps to talk about eating and how we feel about our bodies and that you are available to talk anytime. If she does not seem receptive, seek professional help. If your daughter will not see a doctor, go yourself and learn how to get her into treatment and how to communicate with her about her disorder in the most effective way.

Stacey M. Rosenfeld, Ph.D. is a licensed clinical psychologist with a private practice in New York City. She is also a staff psychologist at Columbia University Medical Center and the Chief Psychologist for the New York City Triathlon. She specializes in the treatment of adult eating disorders, addictions, anxiety and depression, and relationship issues, as well as sports psychology. She has appeared in the media to discuss body image and related issues on The Today Show, ABC News, WCBS Radio, Woman's Day, Life & Style, In Touch, msn.com, and many other publications.
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