Scientists are currently working to better understand the biological or biochemical causes of eating disorders. We understand more about these factors now than we did 20 years ago, but there’s still a long way to go.
There is, however, a bit more certainty when it comes to the psychological, social, and interpersonal factors that often correlate with eating disorders. Study after study has shown that low self-esteem, living in a culture that places extreme value on achieving the “perfect body,” troubled peer and family relationship, and a history of physical or sexual abuse are all strong risk factors for developing an eating disorder.
As a parent, there is very little you can do without advanced medical interventions to influence your child’s genetic make-up or biochemical processes. But, there is a lot you can do to try to mitigate the psychological and emotional risk factors for eating disorders.
Developing Body Positivity from an Early Age
Here are few do’s and don’ts that may help your child develop a healthy attitude about his or her body and prevent the onset of an eating disorder:
You Are Not to Blame for Your Child’s Eating Disorder
As a parent, it’s true that you do have a significant amount of influence on your child’s emotional and social development. However, this does not mean that if your child develops an eating disorder, it is all your fault. You can do everything “right” as a parent, and still have a child who struggles. That’s because though you are a strong influence in your child’s life, you are not the only influence. Brain chemistry, messages from the media, peers, and your child’s own personality all play a role.
It’s also important to remember that if your child does have an eating disorder, you are not alone. One of the most beneficial things about Family Week at The Meadows Ranch is that family members get to meet other families of patients struggling with ED, and discuss their pain, their similarities, and their differences in safe, open environment. Developing these types of support networks is critical to the healing and recovery of both the patient and his or her entire family.
For more information about how The Meadows Ranch can help, call us at 866-390-5100.