Daughters and Eating Disorders

A dad and his daughter

Credit: Stewart Black, from Flickr.com

It’s part of the role of fathers to help their daughters feel beautiful, especially at adolescence. When she’s in the schoolyard and the other girls are talking about who is attractive, and as she’s starting to think about boys, the notion of attractiveness becomes important in her mind. She starts to look in the mirror at night when she goes home and this is a time when her father needs to say the right things. For example, teenage girls might be a bit overweight and fathers, sometimes out of love and a desire to help the girl lose weight and not eat junk food, say something about her being fat.

Girls listen very carefully to what their fathers say. She looks for signals from her father way more than from her mother for the notion that she’s beautiful, be it her looks, her smile, her eyes, or her body. Fathers have a profound impact on the risk of having an eating disorder. Many fathers are not aware of that and it’s a shame. Fathers have the capacity to reverse eating disorder in girls.

What fathers say and how they treat their daughters will have a profound impact on their daughters’ sense of attractiveness, confidence, and how they can expect to be treated by a man.

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