Teach Children and Adolescents About Body Diversity
Children’s bodies are good. All shapes, sizes and abilities. ALL OF THEM. To subject them to the idea that they need to restrict to change their body creates a tremendous amount of guilt, shame and disrupts their innate ability to eat intuitively. This does NOT help them develop a healthy relationship with food, and is a common trigger for disordered eating. No one is born having negative thoughts about their body or fearing food. Instead, we can love them unconditionally just as they are. We can empower them as the experts of their body. We can teach them that all body sizes are equally important and worthy. We can affirm that restriction does not improve self-esteem, wellbeing, or health.
This is not a stab at any parent who is just trying to do the very best that they can with the information and beliefs that they currently hold. You are a good parent. I truly believe that parents and caregivers want what is best for their children. We are all exposed to the same messages from diet culture. How you can preserve your child’s intuitive relationship with food and neutral body image: challenge diet culture and your engrained weight stigma, tell them you trust their body and they should too, talk about bodies for what they allow us to do instead of how they look, show them what it looks like to have a positive relationship with food and your body.