To the bone – Parents guide.

By now, it is most likely that you have already seen «13 reasons why», a Netflix series, where Bullying is depicted.

Keeping that trend,  «To the bone» is a film by Marti Noxon, who suffered from Eating disorders herself and wanted to reflect her experiences in the film, that tells the story of Ellen, a 20-year-old woman who fights anorexia and is hospitalized with six other young people to try to treat this serious illness.

I highly recommend the movie, and it would be great if your kids, (better teenagers), could watch it with you, but, first of all, maybe you should check the material I give you bellow, because it is a very hard film, it is a very serious problem, so, if you can speak and comment with them the aspects of the film it would be a very good guide to them, they would have doubts, you can guide them, you can talk together on what all of you think it is wrong or why the situations come across… With teenagers it is very important to be next to them, not to overwhelm them, but to know their tastes and guide them, always with respect but guiding them.

As advised, before you go to watch the movie with your children, I would like you to take into account a series of recommendations, since it is a very sensitive issue and it is possible that if your son or daughter watch the film without supervision may have different points of view or feel lost.

  1. There’s a lot of self-hate. The movie would not present an honest portrayal of anorexia as a disease if it didn’t get inside the character’s mind, but at times, Ellen’s self-judging words are rough to hear. You see her constantly measure the width of her upper arm to see if she’s gained weight and observe more than one character damaging their body by overly exercising, purging, and depriving themselves from food.
  2. Some scenes feature disturbing imagery. More than a few times, we see Ellen’s bare body with protruding ribs, collarbones, and spinal ridges — there are several scenes where she’s weighed. Her body is bruised from all the sit-ups she does to burn calories to get rid of the little food she eats, her eyes are sunken, and her skin is covered in hair, a side effect of anorexia. Again, while the actress transformed her body to better portray the character (Collins battled an eating disorder in her teens), if your kid is sensitive, this might be tough to see.
  3. There’s some profanity. It’s not overtly aggressive, but there are some F-bombs, sh*ts, and more.
  4. Some characters are insensitive toward eating disorders, which might be triggering. If your teen is in recovery from an eating disorder, hearing someone with anorexia referred to as «rexy» or seeing the main character’s stepmom jokingly serve her a cake shaped like a burger that reads «Eat up, Ellen» might be harmful.
  5. Food is discussed in terms of calories and how to burn them. While this might not sound like a big warning, Ellen is always counting calories, even using her ability to nail the numbers as a party trick in front of her stepsister. If calorie-talk is not a concept your teen has ever observed, you might want to approach the subject before sitting down to watch the film. If your child is in recovery, this particular theme in the movie could be triggering.
  6. There’s talk about self-harm. There are no scenes where you observe cutting, but the concept is mentioned. The nurse calls self-harmers at the treatment center «overachievers.»
  7. Suicide is discussed. In an attempt to avoid a major spoiler alert, while you don’t see the act, there’s a graphic discussion about it.
  8. There’s some underage drinking. This is probably nothing your teen hasn’t seen, but it’s worth mentioning.
  9. It shows a miscarriage. The scene lasts only a few seconds, but you do see some blood.

 

Another option, would be that you and your partner watch the film and decide how to approach the issue in case your kids tell you that they want to see the movie or that in the institute they talk about the topic.

If you are a  institute teacher, it would also be interesting if you had access to this material in case you want to guide your students.

Anorexia is a very serious problem, affecting both boys and girls, but to a greater extent the latter, particularly when they begin with hormonal changes and have a «new» body with curves that disturbs them; It is very important to have done a previous hard with these pre-adolescents self-esteem, confidence in oneself and above all, other values ​​away from the superficiality of external beauty.

 

Although this disorder usually begins in adolescence, it is not uncommon for post-adolescents to suffer from this disease, which also produces a serious deformation of the perception of reality. These people do not really think that they look thin, on the contrary!! and do not believe that they have a problem and is that the brain plays a bad trick to them, so, among other things, this is the reason why it is a disease so serious and complicated to treat. If you do not want to cure yourself, nothing will change. The decision must come from yourself.

 

That is why it is so important to educate the children in values ​​such as those preached by Positive Discipline. We accompany children from the respect point of view, from firmness and kindness, making them want to do things themselves, not because an external agent, in this case, the parents, force them (through punishments) to do this or that. The kids have to want to do something. And in the same way in the recognitions. It is no use to be flattering and giving away the ear every day. They must feel proud of themselves of their achievements, that the recognition comes from themselves, thus they will not need external approval.

 

Likewise, Positive Discipline helps children develop tools for managing emotions, without hiding them, and social skills, to be able to face the challenges and frustrations of life.

 

Please do not think about the short term. Punishment TODAY works, of course. But think about tomorrow, what values ​​do you want your child to have in 20 years?

 

I hope it has been helpful for you.
See you soon!!

Lily

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