Lessons for Moms on Eating Disorders

October 15, 2012 in Eating disorders,lessons for moms

Lessons for moms on eating disordersMy Bird she’s a picky eater. If I let her, she would only eat PB&J and crackers and chips. No meat. Only a little cheese. And only berries. Milk makes her tummy hurt.

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:

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!

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{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

emily wierenga October 15, 2012 at 3:57 pm

oh, i love, love, love that you are doing this friend. so important, that we be educated in this. bless you. e.


pruningprincesses October 16, 2012 at 11:00 am

And I love, love, love the support you are showing. I’ve already learned so much!


belinda October 15, 2012 at 5:37 pm

Great topic to tackle! Looking forward to the discussion this week.


pruningprincesses October 16, 2012 at 10:59 am

Belinda I am so glad you are following along. I should make a contributors section and we should put up your picture and a little blurb about you I think!


Jester Queen October 15, 2012 at 10:44 pm

I think we’re all just doing the best we can. It sounds like you are aware of your daughter’s needs and limits and you are making the best choices for HER. Those might not be right for some other kid. But you being aware of the potential body image issues suggests you aren’t causing the problem but trying to help her deal with something that may be coming from an external source. Thanks for visiting on my SITS day!


pruningprincesses October 16, 2012 at 11:01 am

Thank you for your encouragement. I hope other moms learn as much from this series as I do! I am still thinking about the ballet story. I loved it.


Blond Duck October 16, 2012 at 11:34 am

You won’t mess her up. I had an eating disorder and it was because of learned behavior from my parents ( my mother always making separate diet meals while my father berated her weight) and my father making comments about the way I looked, how much I ate, etc. It’s more of an inner perfection thing than something you can do by making her eat broccoli. Just tell her you want her to get all the nutrients she can to be strong and healthy. That has nothing to do with looks. Her friends and their obsessions will do more harm than vegetables will.


pruningprincesses October 16, 2012 at 3:23 pm

Blond Duck, I hope you are healthy now. Thank you for your encouragement. I don’t usually worry too long, but I still wanted to learn more about this issue of Eating Disorders which seems to be more and more prevalent. The last line of your comment made me laugh!


Christine @ Love, Life, Surf October 16, 2012 at 10:37 pm

This is such a great topic to talk about. I feel like there’s so much pressure to “feed” our children. I know that I get anxious when my kids don’t eat yet I don’t want to make 4 different meals for everyone so I give them the choice and if they don’t want to eat dinner, there’s no other food that night. This drives my mom batty. I think that we all are trying to best that we can and try to set a good example of healthy eating. I try to focus on food as fuel to help them become strong and healthy.


pruningprincesses October 17, 2012 at 2:05 am

Christine, I struggle with this all the time, yet my philosophy has always remained very much like yours. Dinner is fish or chicken or enchiladas. Sometimes, especially with my oldest who eats most anything, I will honor her few dislikes, but with my youngest who eats very few things I fret and sometimes, when patience is low I yell, “Just eat it. You don’t have to like it.” But yes food is fuel and we need a variety of fuel. Great focus.


Beth (OMG! Yummy) December 4, 2012 at 9:24 pm

Great topic – I have a 14 yr old so this is so relevant. Luckily, no signs of eating disorders around here but she comes home and tells me how many girls are “cutting” and you just know there are that many working their way into an eating disorder as well. I am a food blogger and food is an important part of our lives but luckily my kids are good eaters, adventurous eaters, and have been taught what is healthy and what is not. And they have good sense when to limit the junk. But my daughter does care a lot about her looks – which is normal but sometimes, a little bit scary!

Hope you are having a great SITS day!


pruningprincesses December 4, 2012 at 9:44 pm

Beth, as a food blogger and mother, you might be interested in coming back to my blog. The other posts were written by women who actually went through eating disorders. Two of them are by Emily Wierenga, author of the amazing new book about eating disorders called, Chasing Silhouettes. We don’t have issues here yet either but I know my daughters will have friends who do. I started this series to learn so I would be more prepared to help and counsel my daughter in how to help a friend. The posts are amazing. There are links to the other ED posts on the Lessons for Moms post. Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to comment. I am SO glad your daughter is healthy.


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