Forcing children to eat, one of the origins of eating disorders

You have lost weight significantly. He is down, nervous, and behaves strangely at the table and after eating. Buys too many sweets and trinkets to snack between meals or has stopped eating caloric foods that you used to love. These are some signs that may make you suspect that your child is suffering from an eating disorder. What you must do is act quickly, even if it is to discard it, because, if it is true that such a problem exists, it is very important to prevent it from becoming a habitual behavior and becoming chronic.

Now, the psychologist qualifies
Pilar Conde,
It may happen that an initial family intervention, without the advice of an expert, is counterproductive, since it is

It is common for conflictive situations to arise when raising the subject at home, especially with adolescents. The correct thing to do in these cases is to seek medical advice first and then, jointly, if possible, address the problem with an interdisciplinary nutritionist-psychologist team.

It is by no means an easy path. It is a hard and long process, because, as explained by the technical director of Clinicas Origen, it is not only about modifying eating habits they are seriously harming your health. The problem has an emotional and psychological root that must be addressed.

The key is to find the source of the disorder and how the person is maintaining it. The approach can be done from the identification of feelings and the thoughts that have led to imbalances in the way you relate to food and your body image. Also by becoming aware of the way you behave and where it is leading you.

This cognitive restructuring is complemented teaching the patient to identify the different types of hunger and guiding him towards techniques that help him in his fight against the disease. El mindfull eatingEating being aware of what we are eating and how we are doing it is one of them.

At home, work should focus on preparing healthy menus. High calorie products that can lead to binge eating should be removed from the shopping list. It is also relevant to maintain schedule guidelines for meals and to eliminate the possibility of eating on the couch, on trays, and snacking between meals.

Regarding the convenience of the affected young person or adolescent making his problem public in his immediate environment, it will depend on how he wants to face it, based on his beliefs and values, Pilar Conde clarifies. “It is a topic that is usually addressed in therapy and it is the patient who decides how to manage it.”


Self-esteem, both in overweight and underweight problems, is key in this matter, as it is in the whole psychological and emotional development of children and adolescents. This last group is one of the most affected by the so-called EDs – anorexia, bulimia, binge eating disorder, avoidance disorder and vigorexia – and during the pandemic its incidence has increased, while the age of those affected decreased.

The physical isolation that confinement entailed brought with it a notable increase in levels of anxiety and stress in the entire population, but specifically in adolescents and young people. Some experts add to this factor the rExercise intensively during online tutorials or diet monitoring on social networks.

These may have been triggers, but the origin may be in a poor regulation of emotional states from childhood. In this case, through food. For this reason, they explain from this network of clinics, it is important that introspective capacity is included in our learning and personal development, in order to know what is behind our behaviors.

Forcing a child to eat if he does not feel like or does not like food can be one of the origins of bulimia, anorexia or being overweight. Although it is not a determining factor, says Conde, it must be considered because in childhood the first eating habits begin to be forged.

In this sense, parents should know that nor it is good that the child leaves the plate empty against his wishes and your appetite. Ideally, you should stop eating when you feel full.

Nor should you be very permissive about the intake of sweets, buns, ice cream and, ultimately, everything they love, but it turns out bad for health if they consume it in excess. “It is necessary to instill a healthy diet, both in products and in the number of times and then if the child will be able to relate appropriately with the sensations of his body.”

Finally, be very careful, if diets enter your child’s life, if not for health reasons, in cases of overweight and obesity. They are a clear indication of dissatisfaction with body image and a danger that an eating disorder has entered or is about to enter your life.

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