But I think it is rude to be a picky eater. I don’t think moms should make special food each meal for the picky eater. And so I make her eat what is served. If she doesn’t want to, no snacks before bed. Usually she doesn’t care. Occasionally she stuffs the broccoli in her mouth too fast and says, “I’mmm dwone.”
Somewhere I read that parents should only make kids try things. Kids should decide what to eat and how much. “Making a big deal out of what a kid will eat is to risk eating disorders” that’s what I remember reading. And I laughed when I read it because I’ve been to the orphanage in Honduras. I’ve seen kids who know no choices and are not picky. They eat everything in front of them because to not eat is to be hungry. And I was convinced that pickiness was an American luxury.
Truthfully, I am still convinced. But we live in America. Choices are part of our culture. And that line I read haunts me. Especially when my dear 8-year-old said twice last week, “I don’t want to wear that, it makes me look fat.”
My heart dropped into my stomach. And I came face to face with my fear. I am going to mess up this mothering thing up. Maybe I shouldn’t make her eat food she doesn’t want to eat. And my natural reaction when I don’t know what to do, well, it isn’t always to pray first (working on this habit). It’s to get information. So I conceived this little week of posts on eating disorders, thinking that you too might wonder if you could cause your girl to have an eating disorder. Thirty minutes into the research I realized this isn’t about information. It’s about me and my fears. And examining my own relationship to beauty and food. And if you need facts, there are experts who are more qualified to give you facts than I am (experts and books on Wednesday). Moms who have yet to face the world of eating disorders don’t need facts. They need their hearts tugged so they do the hard work of examining themselves. Of fighting for their girls by being healthy themselves. Of teaching them about the beauty deceptions in our culture.
This week, I will share the words of others, so you can learn about the life-long struggle that accompanies these disorders. And you can read the questions, that you as a mom need to face in yourself so you can help your princess love the way God created her. This week captures the heart of this blog.
Let’s begin. Some stats to consider:
- (54%) of 3rd-5th grade girls worry about their appearance and 37% worry about their weight.
- More than half (57%) of music videos feature a female portrayed exclusively as a decorative, sexual object.
- 95% of those who have eating disorders are between the ages of 12 and 25.8
Stats are numbers designed to give us information. But I bet you know or will know someone who is suffering from an eating disorder. The sufferer isn’t a number. She is a precious life and your heart aches for her. And I bet your girls, they will know someone with an eating disorder, their own age. As moms hoping to help the next generation, we will begin by listening to the stories and then being honest about where we are.
This week (ending with a mentor mom post next Monday), friends who have suffered from eating disorders will share with you, one day will be devoted to prevention possibilities and books you could read and one day there will be an excerpt from Emily Wierenga’s second book that she releases in May (Of Chasing Silhouettes fame). And all week, I will pray that we can be a light in this world together by learning about a very real issue that effects girls around us. Join us this week, and spread the word.
Other posts in this series:
* Oh and thank you for helping to celebrate Pruning Princesses’ birthday! The random number generator picked entry #2 as the winner. Congratulations Lisa!