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Happy Father’s Day

It’s Father’s Day and for many daughters, their first mirrors reflecting their appearance are their fathers. On this day of tipping our hats and hearts to our dads, I also ask dads to remember that their daughter’s beauty and worth are not measured in dress sizes and pounds on the scale.

Dr. Kenneth Weiner writes about the prevalence of eating disorders among adolescent girls and offers the following two pieces of advice to fathers and mothers:

  • Focus on who your child is, not what they are. Many children and adolescents struggling with eating disorders don’t feel very good about themselves, despite how perfectionist or accomplished they may be. Focusing on a child’s self-esteem and sense of self, and not their accomplishments or how they look, can help lay a critical foundation for avoiding child eating disorders and setting the stage for positive teen body image.
  • Never put your child on a diet. Simply put, diets don’t work. The surge in popularity of dieting is largely a byproduct of the obese society we live in, and while we need a “war on obesity” in this country, children and teens predisposed to or struggling with eating disorders are often the collateral damage of obesity prevention efforts. When these kids go on a diet, it’ll almost always activate the latent genetic predisposition that sets them up to have an eating disorder.