A friend of mine has been dealing with her daughter's eating disorder for a couple of years now. It's gone from not that much to worry about to serious concern to considering hospitalization and run the gamut back and forth again. I've been thinking a lot about this issue lately as The Dormouse begins to be as susceptible to television and commercials as her father. We've started these conversations:

Watches commercial for some 'you'll look younger skin care product' on television.

"Momma, you should get that."


"Because then your skin would be smooth. My skin is smooth, but your skin is not smooth. So you should buy that."

What?? We've had these discussions about toys, food, makeup, haircare products and tampon commercials. She's not yet four, people!

It's especially disturbing to me, I think, because advertising is sort of lost on me. To me, commercials on television are the times when I talk to my husband, go to the kitchen or the bathroom, pick up the living room, or flip across the channels to see what else is on (yes, that most male of qualities, I possess and am proud of it). In general, I don't watch television so much as listen to it while I'm doing other things. On the rare occasions when I do allow a commercial to run unchecked, The KoH often will say something about it and I am patently unable to remember what product was being advertised - even after staring straight at the set while it aired.

The KoH, with his auditory memory, is different than me, however, and will kindly repeat the entire thing verbatim if I missed a portion. I'm concerned that The Dormouse is just like him in this respect.

Knowing what I know about eating disorders, I realize that they're not caused by the media or too much television. But I do know that can't be helping either. It's like your kid already has one strike against her and all this crap they see everyday is just reinforcing the errant thinking; it's a constant fight of two steps forward, one step back.

So, I love that Dove has started these real beauty ads that make us think about our concept of beauty and what we teach, not only our children, but also ourselves. But at the same time, I don't want to buy too much into this, because after all, Dove is selling a product too.

I'm not sure what the answer is and my guess is that there isn't just one answer ...or even five. For me, the hard line is this: turn off the television once in awhile - which, believe me, is easier said than done.