On several occasions we have talked about eating disorders, both in childhood and adolescence. Eating is more than a primary need for the child, his or her diet, the factors that link it to it, will essentially influence the relationship he has with his or her family and the environment.
Eating disorders may appear as an isolated problem, it would be more genetic, environmental, behavioral, and emotional disorders, or as a disorder concomitant to a disease or structural abnormality. We talk about these and other issues below.
Types of parents according to the relationship with feeding
The relationship between parents and children is essential in order to condition proper eating behavior. Education styles influence the onset of eating disorders. The type of family, or parents, has been classified, according to their relationship with food in:
- Responsible or assertive style. Parents guide the child in feeding, put limits without resorting to coercion techniques. They determine what, where, how and when the child should eat, but let him decide how much. It is the most suitable style, because the child recognizes the signs of hunger and satiety.
- Controlling or authoritarian style. It exercises strict control over the child, including with punishment and coercion. Ignore the signs of hunger and satiety in the child. Turn meals into a plunder. It is counterproductive in the medium term.
- Forgiving or permissive style This is the opposite case to the previous one. Thechild does what he wants, eats what he wants, when he likes, which conditions an improper diet and an increased risk of obesity.
- Negligentstyle They are parents with no sense of responsibility and detachment, there may be emotional and psychiatric problems.
Classification of eating disorders
Eating disorders in childhood have been classified several times since they were first introduced as a psychiatric diagnostic categoryin 1994. The scholar Kerzner established a very useful and practical classification for the primary care pediatrician.
Establish three categories, each of which has different groups. These categories take into account the behavior of the child and the feeding style of caregivers:
- children with poor appetite,
- children with selective intake and
- children afraid of eating.
As we have pointed out each of them has several subcategories, or groups. In addition, a single patient can be located in more than one at a time. Specialists have different tools and questionnaires, for children and parents, which serve as guidance towards the type of behavioral disorder they face.
Groups or subclasses of eating disorders
Within the first group of children with poor appetite, can be given:
- Active children but with a limited appetite, are very active children, restless, more interested in playing and talking than eating.
- Apathetic child, who have no interest in food or its environment. malnutrition can be evident, and cause depression.
- children with poor appetite for some disease.
In children with selective intake, we find:
- Those who have mild selectivity, eat few foods, are capricious, but ingest enough energy and nutrients.
- Highly selective children are the ones whose diet is only 10-15 foods. The most common example is the feeding problems of autism.
- Finally there is selective intake of organic origin.
Children afraid of eating, has todo with any traumatic experiences related to feeding. For example, sometimes excessive crying of the infant is mistakenly perceived as hunger, and he is forced to eat. Also fear can come from a previous negative experience, such as choking, burning your mouth. Finally there may be a fear of eating of organic cause, children fed by catheter, esophagitis, stomatitis.
As you see eating behavioral disorders, they can originate from childhood. It is important that we be attentive to the signs thrown by our children, and we turn to professionals because in all these categories at the same time false perception of parents is included, but it is better to sin with care.