National Eating Disorders Association

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welldone
worried about my kids

Is there any professional that could tell me what the effects might be on children of Mothers with an eating disorder? My children are young, 3 and 6, and I have tried to be discreet with my purging, but I think my 6 year old senses something is not right. I struggle to sit and eat a meal with them at home, and when I do at supper time, I always disappear afterwards. It worries me to no end that they will develop this as well. Does anyone know what the chances are, and how they might be interpreting this? I feel unsure about discussing this with them at all, because they are very easily influenced and I wouldnt want them to think this is OK to do. Any info would be nice!!

joy_rocks
I'm sorry to say that from my

I'm sorry to say that from my lay knowledge the correlation is high. ED's tend to run in the family- like mine. You can support them though. Show them openly how to get better, don't make mental illness taboo, that sort of thing. It will be very helpful.

swan1541
My girls are doing well

I have AN from time to time, and my daughters have observed my changes in size, admissions to hospital, residential treatment etc. They are now aged 18 and 19, both in college, and appear more sensible and well grounded than me. They both have anxiety issues, a little depression, but so far have responded well to light medication. They neither restrict nor purge. Throughout their lives I have always tried to ensure that they have reliable adults to talk to, either with occasional rounds of therapy, or youth group leaders and good role models. For a long time I thought they would be better off without me, but I was persuaded that statistically that is not true, so I just love them the best I can and see that they have as much support as I can help put in place. So far, they are doing better than I was at their age, but yes, I think they are at a genetic disadvantage for mental health issues. I agree wholeheartedly with the post entered before mine. Love them, read to them, be open with them. Don't obsess with guilt, you did not choose your genes either.

als2908
I can’t say specifically what

I can’t say specifically what the effects might be. As joy_rocks eluded to, there are current research studies regarding the genetic component of ED’s, but I don’t think that your kids are necessarily destined to struggle with an ED in the future. NEDA has some great resources on the prevention of ED’s and the encouragement of good body image. Perhaps you can browse through these links so that you gain education on promoting a healthy environment for your kids.
http://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/eating-disorder-prevention
http://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/developing-and-maintaining-positi...