Sexing up our children is in the news this week. One mother is reported to be buying her 7 year old "breast surgery" (to implant ping pong balls?).
In girls particularly, there is a link between early growing up, sexualisation, low self worth and eating disorders. So there you have it, there is no way to twist away from that one. Buy your child the wrong clothes or send her out to play in make up and you get what you get down the line.
My little grandgirl loves to wear my necklaces and I think it is wired into children to mimic their parents, they cuddle their teddy bears and put them to bed. This kind of play practising is what helps them to grow up. But how do we get the balance right? It is OK to play with our children in the park or take them out for bike rides. But when we show them that mummy "has" to go to the gym, or when we show them that "mummy isn't eating carbs today" we cross over the line. Children are like sponges, they soak in our own insecurities and our own self doubts and embody these as their own body hatred.
I have had many young people with eating disorders who find their parents' obsessions with running, workouts and exercise toxic, although they dont know it. They resent this behaviour in their parents - it sends out the wrong messages about what it is to be a relaxed human being. Because they can't admit to their resentment, they simply feel ashamed, not knowing why.
Please let your kids be kids, and, get a life. Say no to things which aren't suitable for 8 year old girls. Don't be drawn into competition with parents. Read a good book, take a walk in the rain, eat good food without dietary quirks and read the article below which says it all.
Worried about your child, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit http://www.eating-disorders.org.uk/