Question About Telling My Children (from Reader)

"Hi Marie,
Hope you're doing well. I was just pondering today and thought of you. I was wondering how you talk about the topic of eating disorders with your kids. More specifically, the fact that you had one. What age did you bring it up? What did you say? How exactly did you go about it - did you sit them down or talk about it more casually? Has your history of having an eating disorder affected your parenting? Look forward to hearing from you.

Hi L!

Huh. Good question. I don't specifically remember having any real conversations. When my book came out, Valentina and Miro read the first chapter, my testimony, but didn't have any particular comments. I guess they're just used to the idea that (like a lot of people who they would have heard sharing a testimony over the years) Mom has something in her past that, with God's help, she overcame. 

Valentina was the only one old enough to have any (even vague) memory of my ED - not that she would have been consciously aware exactly at the time, but since I was still buying and planning my days around out-of-control binges (while trying to hide it) when she was in Kindergarden, 1st grade.....it was making me more short-tempered and irritable, as well as exhausted and I'm sure that did affect her. But she has no conscious memory of either my bulimia or drinking problem. However, she has always had a sneaky side......hiding/lying about stuff (usually small stuff), and even at 17, waits until we are out of the room to sneak sweets out of the fridge. Which is ridiculous, given that we have never restricted any of them from having chocolate (or whatever); why hide it?? My husband once wondered if my past might have had anything to do with her inborn "sneaking", but I doubt it.

How has it effected my parenting overall......I would say, I don't repeat the same mistakes my mother did. I have never made an issue of weight with her, never used the word "calorie" in a sentence or passed on any food hang-ups in any way (probably because I no longer have them.) I'm more concerned, if anything, about all the GMO and junk in the American food supply than my kids getting fat (but not concerned enough to go organic....I'm far too cheap.) 

I hope that answers your question......I never really addressed it or made a bid deal out of it with them, but they've long known (probably because of my book.) However, telling my husband was another matter entirely and a very hard experience. See "Telling Someone" in my book. 

Hope that helps!