Friday, February 24, 2012

Modeling Behavior

No, not those kinds of models.

More like role model.

I have an almost 9-month-old daughter. I am terrified of passing on my disordered behavior to her. Every woman on my mother's side of the family has disordered eating issues.

A conversation about how to discuss self-image issues with your children came up with some girlfriends. One friend, who I suspect has some of her own food issues, says her daughter (who is objectively thin) was saying she thought she was fat, particularly around her belly. Her mother encouraged her to do some specific exercises and also said she may be having a growth spurt and it will go away when she gets taller. She also mentioned, almost in passing, that her daughter has always seem to have self-esteem problems.

I basically froze in horror. This was a situation where I didn't feel comfortable being in activist mode and thought any opinion would not be taken well. It made me want to cry for her daughter and for my similar experience as a child.

Why didn't she tell her that she wasn't fat?
Why didn't she tell her that a little belly roundness is totally natural/okay/attractive?

I obviously don't know the whole story but it was a good reminder for me of the importance of modeling good behavior for my own daughter. She is still obviously too young to be aware of much but this time will come quicker than I think.

The coming week is National Eating Disorder Awareness Week. Please check out for more information. Monday is no-makeup day. Will you join me?

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