Saturday, April 16, 2011

Body Image and Self Esteem

As a parent I try so hard to instill self confidence and positive self esteem in my child, while at the same time avoiding arrogance.  I worry though about the effects of food allergies on his body image.  Food is the center of his universe, along with toys, of course.  But at the tender age of 4 3/4, it's apparent how much food means to him and how much I control his world.  He would so love to have a happy meal with chicken nuggets, which often leads to discussions about wisely choosing good fuel for his body and eating treats in moderation.  I can't expect him to comprehend this or that these discussions will diminish his cravings any.  I just wish I didn't have to come across as so over-bearing when it comes to food because I'm afraid of the long-term consequences.  If he was a girl I think the stakes would be even higher, as I can see how focusing so much on food could lay the foundation for eating disorders.

When I was a child my mother never let me have candy.  Nothing to do with food allergies, she was just watching out for my overall health.  Then one day I decided to take it upon myself, and at the age of five I was caught stuffing bags of jelly beans in my coat while my mom was grocery shopping.  It was an embarrassing situation for everyone, but I wanted candy DAMMIT!

I just want to avoid him feeling negative about food.  Food should be enjoyable.  The problem is that food has been a major safety issue and I know every ingredient that goes into his body.  I hate it.  I know we've come a long way and he's eating more foods, which I am  SO thankful for, but it's a slow process. And knowing what I now know, how can I ever let him eat "food" that contains anti-foaming agents?  The problem with being persistent is that once you learn the truth it's really hard to stick your head back in the sand.  *sigh*

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