Posts Tagged ‘Parenting’

A mother and her daughter smiling while eating ice cream

How to Help Children Build a Healthy Relationship with Food

Diet culture is so ingrained in our society that we sometimes can’t even see it. It’s in media messages that tell us that being thin will make us attractive, popular, and successful. It’s on grocery store labels that say foods are “guilt-free” or “sinful.” It’s in conversations about the latest diet or the food someone is “being so bad” for eating. 

In a culture that regards some bodies and foods as good––and others “bad”––it’s no surprise that children might start to develop unhealthy relationships with both. Unfortunately, a negative relationship with food and one’s body can play a part in the development of an eating disorder. Although a child’s environment alone cannot cause a biopsychosocial illness like an eating disorder, it is the factor we can work together to change. Parents have the opportunity to create a healthy environment around food and body image in their home, which can have an incredibly positive impact on their child’s development. 

In this blog, we will delve into how parents can help their children develop a healthy relationship with food and body image.

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A parent cutting up their child's food for them

How to Support Your Child with ARFID

Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder (ARFID) is a newer eating disorder diagnosis that is not as well known as conditions like anorexia and bulimia. Once classified as Selective Eating Disorder (SED), ARFID most commonly affects children and young adolescents⁠—and of course, the parents caring for them. Navigating how to support a child with an eating disorder can be a challenging journey, one made even more difficult when the eating disorder is not widely known or discussed. 

In this blog, we will provide an overview of ARFID, its warning signs, and helpful ways to support your child affected by this type of eating disorder. 

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A parent and a child sitting together on a bed

How to Help Children Develop Positive Body Image

While the United States is making strides in eating disorder representation, education, and advocacy, there is still so much work to be done. Educating ourselves on eating disorders is essential in spotting the signs in ourselves and in others. Because of this, it is of the utmost importance that parents understand the environmental risks for eating disorders in their children, including the unrealistic body ideals that are often pushed in the media. 

There are three factors that contribute to an individual getting an eating disorder: biological, psychological, and environmental. Although environmental factors are not the only factors contributing to the development of an eating disorder, it is one type we can protect against. While we cannot shield our children from the negative messages they may receive or the impossible beauty standards idealized in our culture, we can create a home environment that includes education on eating disorders, the celebration of body diversity, and praising each other for our traits and our accomplishments unrelated to appearance. Below are five ways to help protect the next generation against the environmental factors that contribute to eating disorders.

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kristine-recovery-story

Episode 7: Kristine’s Recovery Story

Episode description:

(TW: Rape). Peace Meal’s Recovery Series aims to share stories of those in eating disorder recovery in hopes of starting conversations, breaking stigmas, and encouraging healing. Kristine Irwin is a mother, advocate, and a survivor of rape and bulimia. It has been 14 years since her rape and she has been free of bulimia for 11 years. Kristine has taken time to heal and grow, which lead her to write the book Voices of Hope and start an organization against sexual assault called Voices of Hope.

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Students walking with backpacks

Tips for Going Back to School in Eating Disorder Recovery

It’s back-to-school time for parents and students across the country. Big changes in routine are an adjustment for anyone, and especially for people in eating disorder recovery. In addition to shifting schedules, these individuals often face additional difficulties this time of year. This article covers the potential triggers that can come with going back to school, as well as strategies for coping with these challenges in eating disorder recovery.

Student Mental Health Crisis

In 2021, more than a third of surveyed high school students in the U.S. reported experiencing poor mental health during the pandemic, and 44% said they persistently felt sad or hopeless during the past year, according to a recent CDC study. In a 2020 survey of 1,000 parents around the country, 71% said the pandemic had taken a toll on their child’s mental health. 

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Charlotte Markey

Being You: The Body Image Book for Boys: A Q&A with Charlotte Markey

Charlotte Markey, PhD, is a world-leading expert in body image research, having studied all things body image and eating behaviors for her entire adult life (25 years!). She is passionate about understanding what makes us feel good about our bodies and helping people to develop a healthy body image. Charlotte loves to share her body image wisdom with others and is an experienced book author, blogger, and professor at Rutgers University, Camden. She currently lives in Pennsylvania with her son Charlie, daughter Grace, husband Dan, and their dog, Lexi. 

Here Charlotte tells us about her new book, Being You: The Body Image Book for Boys, why discussions of body image and mental health need to become more normalized for boys, how parents can help their sons build a positive body image, and more.

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Charlotte Markey

Episode 47: Body Image in Adolescents with Charlotte Markey

Episode description: 

Charlotte Markey, PhD, is a Professor of Psychology and Health Sciences at Rutgers University in Camden, New Jersey. She has researched body image and eating behaviors for nearly 25 years, and is the author of The Body Image Book for Girls: Love Yourself and Grow Up Fearless.

Charlotte joins us in this episode of Peace Meal to discuss adolescent body image. Offering research and practical insight into the multifaceted topic, she notes that body image encompasses far more than whether we like our bodies. She touches on its various dimensions and implications in the everyday lives of adolescents and teens.

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