For parents

Bliss is the natural state of all living beings. If we are not accustomed to feeling blissful most of the time then we are going against nature. In today’s hectic world it may seem impossible to achieve bliss or to teach our children how to feel it but it is certainly possible. The only two things we can give our children are roots to ground themselves and wings to fly.

This is not easy to do unless we have those roots and wings ourselves. We are role models for our children. They copy our behaviour and if they see us behaving in ways that are denigrating towards ourselves, they will not know that such behaviour is unhealthy and will grow up exhibiting the same behaviour and suffering from low self esteem.

Low self esteem is nobody’s ‘fault.’ If we keep looking back we can always find someone to  blame for the original introduction of esteem problems into the family.

But nobody asks to have low self esteem. We all seek happiness but unfortunately, unless we know how to search and what to search for this is not always an easy journey.

In families where there is somebody with an eating disorder, there is usually an element of blame. Either the sufferer blames somebody in the family or the family blame the sufferer. Or both. Neither is productive. All blame is futile and destructive.

Getting beyond this and letting go of feelings of resentment are crucial to the healing process for both the sufferer and for his/her loved ones.

Parents, it is crucial to understand that the root of your child’s eating disorder is low self esteem. This is endemic in Western society and there are many reasons for this.

In order for your child to develop high self esteem it may be necessary for him\her to see a professional. I highly recommend cognitive behavioural therapy as that is what worked for me and is known to be highly effective across the board.

There is also a lot that you, as a parent, can do.

Firstly, it’s important not to place too much emphasis on food. Food is not the issue. The issue is that of low self esteem and a feeling of lack of worth. The way around this is to help the child to build up his/her sense of self worth. There are many ways to achieve this.

Secondly, it is imperative for the parents to look at themselves and their own behavior. Children need to know that their parents are aware that they are not infallible and that they are humble enough to admit that they need to work on themselves and also that they recognize that life is a continual journey and that we all need to learn and progress.

The eating disordered child needs to build his/her self esteem and is much more likely to do so if they are shown by their parents that this is a normal process and that the parents themselves actively work on their own esteem issues. Family therapy is a good option, but still I suggest seeking cognitive behavioural therapy.

There are many ways to do this. Please check my Self Esteem page to learn more.

Parents, it is important to understand that through the generations, various types of parenting have not always allowed us to be the best that we can be. We can choose to perpetuate these, or we can attempt to do better. This does not mean making judgments about your parents or their parents, but rather recognizing that it is a natural process to look for better ways of doing things – kinder ways that result in happy, confident young adults, who are in charge of their own lives.

So how do we bring up our children to be positive individuals who care about themselves and others, are enthusiastic and joyful about their lives and their futures, and who have healthy expectations of themselves and others?

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