Innocent Messages Parents Send Children Can Be Harmful, What To Do And Say Instead

First, let me say that I truly don’t believe that parents cause eating disorders. Studies show that they are complex disorders caused by a genetic predisposition and negative energy intake. However, there are things that are triggering, and harmful that parents sometimes innocently say. But be empowered to do and say supportive and helpful things instead.

Not This: Do or Say This Instead

  • Not This Don’t talk about dieting. In fact, don’t go on a diet. Don’t say, “I’m not eating carbs.”
  • Do This – Buy healthy food. Cook healthy meals with a variety of ingredients.  Your daughter or son should never think of carbs or fats or proteins as evil.
  • Not This – Don’t make negative comments on other people’s bodies. For example, don’t say, “Wow, Mr. Smith really needs to lose that gut.”  Just don’t go there.
  • Say This – “I love how Mr. Smith ran a great practice the other day, and how he always smiles when he sees us.”  Talk to them about kindness toward others.
  • Not This – Don’t comment on people’s bodies that look amazing. Even if you think they do.
  • Say This – “I love how Mrs. Smith is so welcoming to new parents at school” or “I love how bright and witty Mrs. Smith is.” Compliment something they have done, or a strength they have.
  • Not This – Don’t comment on someone’s killer workout. Don’t comment on your killer workout.
  • Do This– Comment on how a balanced, healthy lifestyle is important and how exercise can help our mind, body and spirit feel great.
  • Not This – Don’t go on a detox meal plan.
  • Do This – Eat leafy greens, but also teach your child how to cook with real butter and how to make her grandmother’s birthday cake recipe with 3 sticks of it. Teach your child how to celebrate a birthday, eat cake and enjoy it and move on after the party is over to regular meals and snacks.
  • Not This – Don’t tell your child you hate your thighs.
  • Do This – Tell your child how those thighs got you through a great hike.  Tell your child that even if they don’t like their thighs, they helped them rock the 100 yard dash at school.
  • Not This– Don’t tell your child you are scared of anything.
  • Do This – Tell your child that fear is something to face, accept and conquer with compassion and love.
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