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Am I Teaching My Child to Hate Their Body?

Parenting can be a difficult task for even the healthiest individuals. When mentally ill, you constantly worry about passing on your disorders. Since kids are impressionable, your child absorbs any messaging like a sponge. If you speak kindly about yourself and others, they’ll learn to do this as well. Sadly, it works the opposite way as well.

In this article, we’ll discuss risky behaviors that could teach your child to hate their body. We’ll also identify specific thought patterns that promote eating and body dysmorphic disorders.

Putting the Family on a Diet

Fad diets function on the understanding that your body isn’t good enough as it is now. They push the idea that you have control over how you look, which isn’t entirely accurate. Whether intentional to or not, by putting your family on fad diets, you’re promoting these ideas to your child.

Disordered Eating

You also might be promoting disordered eating patterns. Many fad diets deprive people of the nutrients their bodies need. By cutting out carbs, natural sugars, and fats, your child might learn to fear the healthy parts of a balanced meal. In cutting calories, your child might become lethargic. Your child could begin moralizing foods, classifying them as “good” and “bad.” Through a diet, they may internalize the idea that their appearance matters more than their nutritional well-being.

Negative Self-Talk About Your Body

Ask yourself, do you look in the mirror and point out all the body parts you hate? Do you put on clothes and talk about looking “fat?” Similarly, do you cry when you buy a larger-sized piece of clothing than expected? Your child is watching and listening to all of this. They’ll model the behaviors they see, eventually developing habits.

Body Image Issues

If you engage in negative self-talk about your body, your child might start to talk poorly about themselves. Eventually, they could internalize the phrases. They could view their body with hatred. To express unhappiness with their appearance, they may use words like ugly and fat. Your child could self-harm as a way to express their disdain and anger. When they grow, a natural part of childhood, they could get worked up by the number or letter on their clothing tags. All of this could develop into body dysmorphia, an issue on the rise in adolescents.

As a loving parent, you want your child to grow up happy and healthy. The last thing you want is to pass on your eating disorders or body dysmorphia. If you want the best chance at teaching your child to love their body, you need to address your mental health. At the Guest House, we can help you find the root of your problems with food, self-destructive behaviors, and body image. Your child deserves a parent who loves them enough to get help. You deserve to love yourself fully. When you’re ready to change your patterns, call (855) 483-7800.