Author Virginia Sole-Smith of The Eating Instinct has some good advice in this article about not passing on your body image issues to your children. One important point is to watch what you say about food and bodies, particularly what you say about your children’s bodies. While I think it’s not possible to fool a child when your behavior doesn’t match your words, it is important to watch your words.
Remember that you are a role model whether you have young children or not!
Researchers surveyed 581 parents of children ages 9 to 15 about the different kinds of “fat talk” they used around their kids and then collected data about their children’s weight and relationship with food. They found that 76 percent of the parents denigrated their own bodies in front of their children and 51.5 percent talked more generally about the dangers of obesity, but that 43.6 percent talked about their children’s bodies, taking note of weight gain or commenting on “flabby arms,” for example. And this last group was the most likely to have kids who engaged in binge eating, secretive eating or other disordered behaviors, according to the results published in a 2018 issue of the International Journal of Eating Disorders.