Eating disorders

Whilst preparing a mass of different meals for myriad picky eaters including those with special dietary needs can be stressful, it pales into insignificance in comparison to the worries about the emotional and mental well-being of the children. It seems, as parents, that there are some areas over which we have very little or even no control and as our children reach their adolescent years these areas increase. One such area is indeed exactly what and how much our children eat. The media, particularly in Western society, places great emphasis on physical beauty and most magazines and other media depict thinness as beauty. This gives rise to an escalating industry of diet and exercise, and teenagers, girls in particular, are the prime targets. As our children mature into young adults, all we as parents can do is to cook healthy nutritious meals for our children and hope that we have imparted enough information for them to decide for themselves exactly how and what to eat.

In addition, more and more research is producing both qualitative and quantative evidence to indicate that there is a link between eating disorders and autism, and although the research is by no means conclusive, I for one am not taking any chances and do all I can to ensure my children's mental and physical well-being. Teenagers in particular need their self-confidence boosting frequently and I make sure, as much as I can (a virtually impossible task!), that the boys know that any personal comments about the girls' appearance should aim to be positive and the girls know that any comments made by the boys are not meant to be derogatory. I quietly watch for any warning signs and talk clearly and honestly about the dangers of taking exercise, dieting or anything else to excess. I also make sure they understand that 'different is cool' and the variety of shapes and sizes, colours and differences all serve to make the world a much richer and fuller place in which to live.

Autism

Autism

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