Eating disorder in adopted children are issues which include but not restricted to binge eating. Throwing up after meals, following extremely rigid diets, etc. are also some of them that can stem from a number of issues. The sad reality is that many adopted children come from a background where they were not fed adequately. It is troubling to even think of children starving with less food than they need or sub-standard quality of food. These children often tend to develop eating disorders. They probably act out of fear or insecurity of being unsure about their next meal and when they will get it. Many foster and adopted kids show tendencies of eating disorders. They often hoard, binge-eat, or gobble down food more than necessary. Parents should be cautious in handling eating disorders in adopted children with utmost care and patience.
Let’s discuss how to deal with eating disorder in adopted children without being harsh.
Know properly what kind of eating disorder your child is going through and the short-term as well as long-term possible consequences. Talk to your child about it and share how you love them a lot and are concerned about health issues that stem from such disorders. Don’t be strict or nagging – Don’t keep telling them about their habits in a negative way, try to understand why they are going through the phase firstly. Talk to them about other things, their thoughts, their feelings, etc. If required share your bit of struggles that you have faced or vulnerabilities that you have been through in coping with something. Make sure they understand you and you understand them. Restrictions, discipline, etc. will not work as much as proper communication, love and affection will.
Adopted children may have a backstory or the past which is causing them to develop unhealthy eating habits. Don’t judge them, make fun of them, or in short be negative about them or their habits in any way. They are already struggling and have other emotional issues to cope with while trying to adjust to a new family. Try to avoid any kind of talks, comments, or judgments about their appearance, their weight, and their eating disorder. The child might be emotionally shattered without proper support from you. Try to act as concrete support and let him know you are there for him no matter what and you are trying to help him out to let him lead a safe, healthy life.
It is wrong to try to discipline the child abruptly and expect him to comply. Don’t suddenly restrict food or try to implement a play of power to stop him from overeating or binge-eating. This will not stop the problem at hand but instead, make you more intimidating. Try to take one baby step at a time. Ensure your child understands why it is necessary to gradually but steadily control his eating habits. If required take professional help because they are adept in handling such situations, without further emotionally damaging them. Don’t be afraid to seek outside help as your child’s well-being is the primary concern here.
Above all, it is important for the parents that eating disorder in adopted children is a very normal thing. So don’t have to worry. Try to understand your child and know about their health conditions. Having information about the developmental stages of an adopted child can also help you deal with the matter better.