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Bulimia in children is uncommon - but not unheard of... It's a confusing and scary time for parents - who often feel a sense of guilt.
For parents who discover their children's illness - it is the perfect opportunity to get help and make sure that the bulimia cycle is stopped...
Unfortunately, I learnt plenty of bulimia tips and tricks to hide my illness. My parents never found out. My bulimia continued and got progressively worse until the age of 20...
I started the sport of gymnastics when I was 7 years old. It was here that I met my childhood best friend - Lauren.
I was a gangly and skinny thing... whereas Lauren was a little bit more solid.
I remember a particular training session when one of the parents called Lauren a fatty. This was far from what she was (she was really just a strong kid!) I was horrified...
I made the decision that I'd never give somebody the opportunity to call me fat.
From that point on I became aware of my body and the bodies of others. I noticed when people were thin and when they were fat.
I developed an unhealthy respect for people who were underweight.
Gradually over the years my obsession with body image got worse. I started restricting what I ate in an attempt to stay thin...
But, sometimes I would treat myself and overeat...Then, without thinking much of it, I'd sneak into the garden and throw up. My favorite spot was in the bushes behind our huge lucky bean tree!
From memory, most of what would come up was water... I remember it spraying out like a fountain! I could throw up without any trouble, all I did was tense my tummy muscles and bend over... So I didn't really consider what I was doing to be that bad.
Back then, I'm sure that many people hadn't heard about bulimia - especially bulimia in children... So, nobody looked out for it and I got away with it for many years...
Childhood bulimia turned into teenage bulimia... and then into adult bulimia... This is when I finally decided enough was enough. At the age of 20, after suffering from bulimia for over 1/2 my life, I sought treatment and managed to recover :)
That was 6 years ago - today I am healthy, happy and bulimia free!
Here's my advice for parents who are worried about bulimia in children...
Bulimia in children can be caused by a wide range of things... Don't beat yourself up wondering if it was something you did. This won't help anything - it will only make your child feel guilty for upsetting you.
Approach your child gently and ask them about their eating and throwing up. Don't ask them why they do it because they probably won't know! Tell them food is important for making our bodies healthy. Focus on the positive benefits of eating.
Please, never ever talk about dieting or weight loss in front of your child. This plants dangerous seeds in their vulnerable minds.
Ensure that glossy magazines and T.V. channels full of beautiful and thin people are kept out of bounds... They send messages to your children that to be popular and accepted - you need to be thin.
Do your research and find the best therapist in the area... One who that specializes in working with children. Book an appointment as soon as you can. If you catch bulimia early it can be easily treatable.
Kids tend to grow up far too fast these days... Allow them to act their age and have a good time! Try figure out where their interests, passions and enjoyments lie... and integrate opportunities for them to get involved in these interests each day.
I know you love your child... And, that's why you're reading this page! But, kids need assurance, lots of it! Give your child lots of eye-popping hugs! Do special things with them, laugh with them... Spend quality time with them. All of this will make them feel important and enable them to shake the belief that they need to be thin.
Please, feel free to ask it! Your gaining knowledge on bulimia is an important step in your child recovering...
Article by Shaye Boddington
Author of your-bulimia-recovery.com
and creator of The Bulimia Recovery Program and Community