Parents often know when something is not quite right with their child
Feed Your Instinct (FYI) is an interactive tool designed to support parents of children and young people experiencing different types of eating and/or body image problems.
Eating problems are defined as a change in a person’s regular eating patterns. This may be a variation in when they eat, how much they eat or what they eat. Sometimes, people will change their eating pattern in response to body image problems. People may believe their self-worth is linked to their body shape and size, and can become preoccupied by this. Multiple factors can contribute to these problems, including specific personality traits, genetics and changes in mood or social difficulties.
FYI aims to highlight common warning signs and provide useful information about eating and/or body image problems. It will also provide you with guidance on how to help your child with these problems at home, and suggest options for further support.
In order to get the most help from FYI, we suggest you take time to read through each of the modules and complete the eating and body image checklist.
FYI has four modules:
- Eating: This module looks at eating patterns, food choices and attitudes towards nutrition.
- Wellbeing: This module looks at physical health and unhelpful weight control behaviours.
- Thinking: This module looks at thinking patterns and personality traits.
- Feeling: This module looks at relationships and social interactions.
We have designed each module to help you decide if you need to be concerned about your child, understand what might be happening for them and provide suggestions about what to do.
The FYI Eating and Body Image Checklist outlines some behaviour changes you may have noticed in your child. Once the checklist is completed, FYI will generate a personalised report with a summary of the information you have provided and suggested strategies for you to implement. We hope that this report will help you make a decision about how to act on your concerns. It is not safe to ‘watch and wait’ with possible eating disorders in young people. In addition, FYI will generate a separate printable summary for you to take to your family doctor/GP to help communicate your concerns.
Eating and/or body image problems can occur in young people from the age of 6 years old and onwards. Throughout FYI, we will use the terms ‘child’ and ‘young person’ interchangeably.
We recognise that families are unique, and that the guidance provided on FYI may need to be considered in relation to your own families’ situation and the age of your child. Parents may find they need to become more proactive than they usually are in guiding their child’s behaviour in order to help their child overcome their problems.
Why should parents be concerned about eating and body image problems?
Eating and body image problems can affect a young person’s physical health, mental health and social development.
Young people can be very good at keeping these problems a secret. They may look healthy, deny any problems or provide various explanations for changes in their behaviour. These changes might happen gradually over time, so it can be tricky for parents to know when something is wrong, or whether they need to take action to help their child.
Trust your own gut – do things that make sense, and persist more
– Parent of a child with an eating disorder
A young person who is experiencing eating and body image problems is at risk of developing a range of illnesses. Eating and body image problems place young people at a much greater risk of developing an eating disorder.
Parents have an essential role in detecting problems as early as possible and managing their child’s eating and body image problems. FYI will help parents determine if their child is displaying the warning signs of a possible eating disorder and provide guidance on how to act early to prevent the problem from getting worse. Remember, don’t watch and wait with possible eating disorders.
About the Checklist
The FYI Eating and Body Image Checklist outlines some behaviour changes you may have noticed in your child. These behaviours can be early warning signs of a possible eating disorder. Once the checklist is completed, FYI will generate a personalised report with a summary of the information you have provided.