Effect of mother's eating disorder on preschooler
- Category: Coping Strategies
Women with eating disorders can be mothers. Some come to my practice because they want to heal for the sake of their children.
They do not want their children to have eating disorders or to suffer because their mother is ill.
These often are women who could not rally themselves to put their own well being first and get help earlier. Their love propels them to their recovery work.
Maternal love pushes women to be stronger, determined and more courageous than they dreamed possible. They seek recovery for the sake of their children.
Eating Disorder Story
At a garden party last week end where most of the guests were new parents I heard one mother (I'll call her Alicia) voice concerns I hadn't considered. I felt startled and humbled by my own thinking deficit.
She spoke to me about a situation I am not likely to see in my practice. Alicia's little girl, Mandy, is three years old. One of Mandy's best friends from school is being raised by a mother Alicia says has an obvious eating disorder.
Mandy's friend, also three years old, worries about carbohydrates and about getting fat. Alicia didn't t want that influence on Mandy and was struggling with the idea of breaking up the friendship between these children. She plans to put an end to play-dates because she doesn't want Mandy caught up in eating disorder thinking.
Protecting children from eating disorders
I can appreciate Alicia's concerns for her child Can't you? Eating disorder thinking and behaviors are beginning in children at increasingly younger ages. My hunch is that the mother with the eating disorder does not know her illness is apparent. She may not recognize that she is contributing to building an eating disorder mindset in her child beause that thinking is so routine for her. I think she would be horrified to know her illness is having a powerful effect on her young daughter's emotions, thinking, behavior and social relationships.
- Have you been affected by someone else's bulimia or anorexia or binge eating?
- Have you seen children pulled into eating disorder thinking and behavior at early ages?
- If you are a mother with an eating disorder, have you seen the effect of your disorder on your child?
Considering these questions and exploring possible answers honestly can be helpful to your own recovery. And your recovery is a powerful and beautiful healing influence on the people in your life, especially your children.