Parents are the most effective diagnosticians of disordered eating or eating disorders. Disordered eating and eating disorders are more likely to show up at home than in physical examinations or laboratory tests.
Is your child at risk?
- Does your son or daughter dread family gatherings or withdraw to their room when relatives and food arrive?
- Does your child seem moody or irritable as meal times approach?
- Does your child complain of a stomach ache or indicate they are just not hungry when it is time to eat?
- Does your child insist on bringing their own food to gatherings, declaring what will be served is not healthy?
- Does your child pick at foods, cut food into tiny pieces, or play with their food, moving it around on their plate?
- Does he or she claim to have already eaten or does not have time to eat now and will eat later?
- Does your child say eating in front of people makes them uncomfortable?
- Does your child disappear into the bathroom during or just after meals?
- Does your child believe he or she is fat even though their weight is normal or possibly underweight?
- Does your child insist on daily exercise for an hour or more or get upset if they miss a day of exercise?
There is no better time than the holidays to observe a child who may be struggling with food and weight issues, as well as related emotional problems. The appearance of disordered eating patterns is an indicator that a child is struggling with emotional problems of self-esteem and self-control, as well as considerable misinformation about food and nutritional health.
Eating disorders grow in strength and control each day they continue to exist. Seek help from a registered dietitian who has experience working with eating disorders.