chapter  5
The influence of maternal eating disorder on children
ByALAN STEIN. HELEN WOOLLEY AND HEATHER WILLIAMS
Pages 10

Eating disorders have the potential to interfere with parenting in a number of ways. First, the core symptoms of eating disorders are extremely pervasive and potentially disruptive of daily activities and sensitive parenting. Particularly debilitating are the preoccupations with body shape, weight and food, which may draw parental attention away from the needs of their child. The behaviours which characterise eating disorders and which may disrupt harmonious parent-child interaction include episodes of binge eating, and the extreme behaviours adopted to compensate for over-eating, such as vomiting. the use of purgatives and excessive exercise. Second, a number of studies (e.g. Humphrey. 1989) have shown that people with eating disorders have difficulties in their interpersonal relationships. These difficulties may extend to their relationships with their children.