The news of the Como mother who forced her sixteen-year-old daughter to weigh fifty kilos because she was afraid she would gain weight made the rounds of the newspapers.
The woman, accused of mistreatment, in fact forced the girl to follow a diet made up of vegetables, past, salads and carrots, very little fruit .
All this in an attempt to keep her 50 kilos despite her height of one meter and seventy-two and her very young age, subjecting her to periodic weight checks.
The oppressive regime that the woman imposed on her daughter caused her daughter many health problems.
But unfortunately, and I stress unfortunately, this Como is not the first case of a parent who intervenes in an aggressive way and outside any medical advice on the health and body of their children.
Some time ago a father from Turin was indicted for having had the same behavior with his two teenage daughters , forced to a strict diet and competitive activity to be thin.
EATING AND FAMILY BEHAVIORAL DISORDERS: IS THERE A LINK?
Many women who today have eating disorders, in particular bulimia, say they have had parents perpetually on a diet, with the fixation of weight loss and “healthy ” eating (I put it in quotes because eating healthy and a diet of only vegetables and salad are not the same) that they passed on to them.
In short, sometimes the problem is not just peers or advertising, but the family sphere . This obviously does not mean that the cause of an eating disorder is familiar. Absolutely. But that the family is one of the possibly influencing factors .
Parents should influence their children as little as possible on the body, on aesthetics, and impose dietary behaviors on their own initiative, without medical advice.
It is the doctor who determines if and when a teenager or a child should be put on a diet, but even in this case, it is always the doctor who provides precise indications.
The doctor’s intervention is precautionary, and in conditions of overweight or obesity.
RESTRICTIVE DIET OR DIET IN GENERAL.
WHAT TO AVOID IF YOU HAVE CHILDREN
- In no way can the parent impose his food choices on his children, if these are not in any way endorsed by the competent doctor.
- Furthermore, food should never be used for punishment or reward with children . Kids and teens don’t have to be educated about chips as a reward, pizza as a reward, etc.
- Moral judgments and food are two things to keep separate when having children in the home.
- Same thing for comments on their body: you are fat, this makes you fat, if you keep it up you will never find a boyfriend, you play more sports. No.
- With minors there is no question of calories.
- It is right for parents to educate their children in proper nutrition, but this education must be imparted through a good example in the family . Regular, complete, balanced meals, love for food and conviviality, meals cooked together, education in the open air, movement, collective play.
- No talk about weight, no demonization, no stigma on one’s own body or that of others. For example with comments to thin or fat women or peers, their body, their charm.
- In no way should a minor be involved in the diet of parents, nor should he feel the weight or judgment of his parents on what he eats or even just wants to try.
- In no way should a minor be involved in the obsessions of adults.
These recommendations, which are normal for some, are clearly not for others.
Obviously, everyone educates their children as they want, but one thing is food education, another is the imposition of rules that can then be harmful to their development and lead to countless problems in their adult life.
Children, diet? No, food education.
Agile Guides for Parents: Teens and Food.