Critical Thinking & Eating Disorder Prevention

Teaching our children to be good critical thinkers can be one of the most important components of their resiliency skills toolkit. Practicing critical thinking means that we form opinions after drawing on a range of information, giving careful consideration to all the options available, and checking our own bias.

Media of all kinds play an increasingly important role in our lives, and especially in our children’s lives. In eating disorders prevention, critical thinking allows us to maintain resilience and practice self-regulation in the face of constant media messaging telling us how we should look and feel in order to be successful and accepted.

Good critical thinking allows your child to be able to understand that a ‘thin ideal’ body shape isn’t realistic for most people, and how the pervasive notion that it should be, can contribute to discrimination in a number of areas for those who don’t fit this image. It allows for the understanding and acceptance that human beings come in all shapes and sizes for a variety of good reasons.

As consumers we can reject these made-up media images and messages that are sold to us. If we think critically and really evaluate the advertising and images we see, we can understand clearly how they help to create body dissatisfaction and self-doubt. If we then refuse to accept the ‘suggested sell’ in a way that affects industry profits, we will be helping to create new, more realistic standards of beauty and identity that will contribute to us living healthier lives.

The ability for good critical thinking also contributes to a child’s ability to feel a sense of control and mastery, which can be a critical piece of resilience against the development of an eating disorder. The feeling of not having control is one of the chief reasons children can gravitate toward an eating disorder, that then becomes all about having an area of control in their lives that no one can take away