• Quote of the Day
    "Many of life's failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up."
    Thomas Edison, posted by Daniel

David Baxter

Administrator
Joined
Mar 26, 2004
Messages
37,990
Points
113
Dads may unwittingly push daughters toward bulimia
By Megan Rauscher
Thu Feb 8, 2007

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Fathers are important influences on their daughters' perceptions of their weight and shape during childhood, and can increase their risk of developing an eating disorder in adolescence, research shows.

"Fathers have been mostly ignored in previous research on eating disorders," Dr. W. Stewart Agras, who led the research, told Reuters Health. Based on his findings, Agras said fathers "should avoid criticizing their daughter's weight or shape. Rather they should build up their daughter's confidence by emphasizing other positive attributes."

Weight concerns and preoccupation with being thin, together with social pressure to be thin, are strong risk factors for eating disorders in later adolescence. In an effort to throw light on what factors during childhood contribute to weight concerns and thin body preoccupation, Agras and colleagues from Stanford University in California followed 134 children (68 girls and 66 boys) from birth to age 11 and their parents.

Annual questionnaires beginning at age 2 assessed parents' concerns about their children's weight and eating habits as well as their own weight.

The results show, Agras said, that "fathers are important in influencing their daughters toward bulimia, particularly fathers who were overweight and wanted to be thinner." These influences may be direct -- such as criticizing the daughter's weight or shape -- or indirect, by expressing their own concerns about weight and shape.

"Parents who exhibit concern or criticism about their daughter's weight and shape and who push their daughter toward dieting may increase the risk of their daughter developing bulimia," added Agras.

The study also found that parental behaviors such as over-control of what their child eats, together with parent and peer pressure to be thin, also raises the risk of eating disorders.

Importantly, this study shows that "all these influences occur before adolescence," Agras said.

"Concerns about weight and shape emerge as early as the third grade," he and his colleagues point out in the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. Therefore, it may be that prevention programs for eating disorders should begin early in childhood and perhaps should include education for the parents, they add.

Summing up, Agras said: "Children learn by observing their parents. Hence, weight control behaviors, such as dieting and expressed concerns about weight, should not form an important aspect of family life. It is more important to develop positive healthy family lifestyles."

SOURCE: Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, February 2007.
 
Joined
Oct 14, 2004
Messages
8,521
Points
48
I'm sorry. I've messed up really badly what I was trying to say. I think there are a lot of variables involved with eating disorders and maybe the other article was saying it's not helpful to place blame.

The results show, Agras said, that "fathers are important in influencing their daughters toward bulimia, particularly fathers who were overweight and wanted to be thinner." These influences may be direct -- such as criticizing the daughter's weight or shape -- or indirect, by expressing their own concerns about weight and shape.

If this is true then the father should also aviod criticizing the mother's weight and shape or other women's bodies. I don't know. This is such a confusing issue.
 

ThatLady

Member
Joined
Nov 4, 2004
Messages
4,104
Points
36
I think the point is exactly as you said, Janet. Parents need to avoid needless criticism. Criticism of someone's body type is certainly needless criticism. It doesn't help anyone. I think that's what the article is saying.
 
Joined
Oct 14, 2004
Messages
8,521
Points
48
Maybe this article just touched a nerve with me or something.

A goal of mine is to not blame anyone for my problems. But maybe sometimes it slips out a little. My father was constantly onto my mom about being overweight and she wasn't really. He humiliated her and put her down so much. She wouldn't defend herself. He has this "ideal woman" in his mind and she was not it. And he would say I looked like her. But I made the choices to go down the road to my eating disorder.

One thing I wish was different is that they would have been willing to get help for me.
 

David Baxter

Administrator
Joined
Mar 26, 2004
Messages
37,990
Points
113
He has this "ideal woman" in his mind and she was not it. And he would say I looked like her.

He was far from "the ideal man" in anyone's definition of that term, wasn't he? He was self-centered, selfish, self-focused, critical, and abusive. Much like your husband, oddly enough.

What makes people like that feel that they are so special? What makes them think they have the right to criticize and bully and put others down?

And most importantly, what gives his words so much power for you, Janet?
 

ThatLady

Member
Joined
Nov 4, 2004
Messages
4,104
Points
36
Perhaps, Janet, we can't blame another for our problems. However, we can place the responsibility for creating the conditions under which our problems have arisen directly on the head to which it belongs. Your father's hurtful words caused your mother harm, and they caused you harm. His cruel and selfish abuse hurt those around him. Those hurts, Janet, you've carried with you into adulthood. Those hurts are part and parcel of the reason you suffer today. Now, if we look at it that way, your father definitely can be found to bear responsibilty for his actions, and for the effects of those actions. Is that blame? Maybe; but, if it is, it's deserved.
 
Joined
Oct 14, 2004
Messages
8,521
Points
48
What makes people like that feel that they are so special? What makes them think they have the right to criticize and bully and put others down?

I don't know. Maybe they think they're being helpful? I don't understand it.

And most importantly, what gives his words so much power for you, Janet?

He was the ideal person. He didn't make mistakes. Everything he said came true. He knew everything. He can read people and he is always right. He turns out every single time to be right. He was/is my father and provided for me and was the only one I could count on and still is in some ways. He was/is so powerful to me. I don't know. He's always right.
 

David Baxter

Administrator
Joined
Mar 26, 2004
Messages
37,990
Points
113
He was the ideal person. He didn't make mistakes. Everything he said came true. He knew everything. He can read people and he is always right. He turns out every single time to be right. He was/is my father and provided for me and was the only one I could count on and still is in some ways. He was/is so powerful to me. I don't know. He's always right.

That's not possible, Janet.

He's not the ideal person. The father you wanted was the ideal person. That father doesn't exist.

And he most certainly is not always right. Think back and you'll find numerous examples of instances where he wasn't even close to right.
 
Joined
Oct 14, 2004
Messages
8,521
Points
48
I guess no one could be ideal. That isn't fair to him, is it. He couldn't be that way because no one could.

Somehow I need to change my perspective or perception or something, but we do have this bond between us. Like no other bond and it's scary thinking it has to be broken or maybe it wasnt' even what I thoughtt it was in the first place. I failed him in so many ways. I didn't turn out to be the daughter I should have been.
 

ThatLady

Member
Joined
Nov 4, 2004
Messages
4,104
Points
36
It's often true that people feel a bond to an abusive parent, Janet. It's almost as thought they're afraid not to feel that bond - afraid of rejection, or more abuse, perhaps.

Your father wasn't always right. You know that. He wasn't right to criticize your mother so cruelly. You can bet he wasn't right about a lot of things, but he probably told you he was right. Being a child, you believed him. :hug:
 

Top Bottom