Internalize the dynamics of healthy eating from childhood it is very important both to prevent malnutrition and not to develop eating disorders in adolescence and in young people in general.
Let’s take a look at some tips on how to do this from our role as parents.
Let’s start with the basics: what is food?
The act of nourishing us goes beyond a simple physiological need, is a true symbol of our way of approaching life, in particular through the first significant figure with whom we establish an important link: our mother.
At birth, she nourishes us from her breast, and it is she who generally gives us food in our early years, food is the main act that connects us to life, nourishes us and allows us to be healthy. life.
On another side, it becomes a social act that unites us with other loved ones.
To be more precise, we could analyze in more detail what role food plays: do we eat our life by food, how do we do it: energetically, with pleasure, with abruptness, with anxiety?
The mouth also allows us to develop many other actions, such as speaking or expressing ourselves, and is a key part of our appearance, of what we show to others.
Is our society sick?
Today’s society continues to demand (despite the change of perspective) a certain image and concrete measures, exalting youth and appearance above all else, the posture on social media is increasingly sick and a sector of adolescence identifies with nothing but their own photos, thus risking to sow confusion and losing sight of their personal identity.
In short, they are perceived as the others, according to the assessments they make, leaving one’s self-concept in outside hands, which is very dangerous, as they have no control over their life, resulting in a fragile ego and a malleable psyche. It all comes down to a number of “likes”.
If we move to the Internet environment, we will find content in digital media that promotes eating disorders such as anorexia or bulimia, and it is very important that the existence of websites that promote practices potentially harmful effects aimed at reducing the number of calories ingested already reach the measures below what could be described as healthy.
For example, tactics such as sprinkling foods with detergent to induce feelings of disgust, the use of laxatives, guidelines for self-harm and escaping the feeling of hunger, or pain relief are encouraged. means of hiding certain signs from the bodily family. They also offer tables of unreal measurements for the crazy and the they pressure children and adolescents to inevitably identify with a certain appearance and lifestyle, also encourage self-punishment and low self-esteem.
The great paradox is that this type of platform cannot be closed, because they allegedly do not violate the law, fortunately this is changing and an example of this is the following: in March 2019 a decree-law was approved in Catalonia who acts against those companies or platforms that apologize for anorexia and bulimia on social networks and the Internet.
These platforms could be sanctioned if, despite having knowledge of this content on their platforms, they do not take the necessary measures to remove it.
Indeed, on December 18, 2019, the following news was released: Irish company Automatic Inc was fined 85,000 euros for apologizing for anorexia and for failing to adequately meet previous requirements. of the Generalitat.
What are anorexia and bulimia?
The two most common eating disorders are anorexia nervosa and bulimia.
While the first is a severe pathology, which is characterized by an uncontrollable fear of weight gain and the development of actions aimed at excessive weight loss, the second (which also begins with a restricted diet) consists of the manifestation diversion of food and purgative behaviors leading to compensate for any weight gain.
How does the family influence the development of these disorders?
Each family is a different system, it is not clear whether the relationships between its members are causing the disorder, but we can be sure that a number of common patterns have been identified that typically appear in people with limbs affected by these pathologies.
In the case of anorexia, these are generally families characterized by overprotection, the involvement of children in parental conflicts.Relationships manifest as amalgamation, conflict is avoided, and acceptance of change is rigid.
In the case of bulimia, there is an excessive interest in academic and professional success to the detriment of other goals such as leisure., moral or intellectual issues, no matter what they look like and what they are going to say, parents are featured in an emotional outburst in the form of anxiety which at first glance may seem disinterested in the disease of the limb, especially the father Usually handles with neglect and lack of involvement, while the mother tends to blame the sick daughter for the problem.
It happens to families because of theirs inability to handle stressful situations, its low tolerance for frustration, its lack of cohesion and its lack of emotional connection which contrasts with the lack of privacy of goods and spaces shared without prior authorization, error (even the slightest) is not tolerated in such families.
Family therapy has proven to be very useful in the treatment of these pathologies.
What can we do for our children from an early age?
Here are some tips to remember to achieve this.
1. Do not give a negative connotation at mealtimes
It doesn’t have to be a power struggle, it is important to emphasize the positive side of the experience.
2. We avoid rewarding or punishing with food
The act of eating must be pleasant and take place in a pleasant and relaxed atmosphere, therefore we must strive to create a space of calm and positivism, without screams or discussions.
On the other hand, forcing food to be eaten by bad people can lead to rejection of it.
3. Do not watch television or use other devices during meals.
It is important be aware of the act of eating. We involve children in the preparation of simple meals, even if they stain more than they should.
4. Educate about food
We bring them to the market and teach them the names and characteristics of foods. In addition, it is important that we educate ourselves on healthy eating and habits. The goal is that they develop a good relationship with food, that they end up loving it.
5. Harness the potential of creativity
It is more educational to try to make them taste different foods using creativity, making them more appetizing and flexible in their preferences; if we’re realists, no one likes absolutely all foods, although it’s important that they maintain a receptive attitude to new flavors and textures.
With the little ones, you can approach the act of eating in a playful and imaginative way as long as we focus on the food.
6. Boost your self-esteem
We cultivate good self-esteem in them, emphasizing his personal qualities rather than physical
You have to pay attention to comments on physical appearance (“I saw that you are getting fat”) especially during puberty and adolescence, stages where the image is essential for self-esteem.
In short and as always, the emotional education of our children is the most powerful weapon we have to transmit the strength and values that allow them to face the negative messages of our society and our own insecurities.
If we treat them with respect and dedication, if we maintain good communication with them, they will grow into mature and responsible adults. And let’s not forget that we are still the role model.