Parents Guide to Teenage Eating Disorders

Teenage eating disorders are something that most parents never expect to have to deal with, much less watch as their child spirals out of control. However, more and more teenagers, both boys and girls, are resorting to some form of eating disorder in order to fit in to their surrounding world. Because the media lulls people into believing that thin is in, our teenagers feel the need to imitate their celebrity heroes. This kind of idolization can have devastating effects, so parents must be informed about eating disorders, in order to help their teenager avoid falling into this quagmire.

There are signs that a young person has an eating disorder although those signs depend on the type of disorder they have. The first is being obsessive over their body image. They may make comments regarding being overweight when clearly they are not. With eating disorders, the mind has a distorted sense of self. The person looks in the mirror and only sees their weight or excess fat. Even those above their recommended weight can see themselves as being bigger than they actually are. It is a sense of self-loathing that drives them.

Other signs may be eating huge meals at one sitting and then rushing to exercise. Purging may not be obvious to you because it is something they do in secret. For those who use laxatives as a means of weight loss, an overabundance of laxatives will be the first clue.

Parents so often have misconceptions about teenage eating disorders. They may believe that society is brainwashing their child into becoming thin, when in reality, it may be the result of their own actions that are helping to promote the negative behavior that their child is exhibiting. If a parent finds comfort in food, then the child will more than likely follow suit. This can lead to anorexia and bulimia or even compulsive eating. Parents must grasp the concept that they are their child's first line of defense when it comes to avoiding eating disorders.

If a parent needs help in finding out more about what they can do to combat teenage eating disorders, then they can do a little bit of research on the internet. A great website that can help is the Center For Young Womens Health. Here, a parent can learn how to help their teenager increase their calorie intake in a healthy way and hopefully avoid the pitfalls of an eating disorder. If a parent is looking for more specific health information, then they can try Web MD or the Mayo Clinic's website.

Teenage eating disorders are difficult to deal with and everyone in the family should become involved in order to overcome and conquer. Parents need to be aware of their child's habits during adolescence and try to curb the possibility of an eating disorder taking root. One thing to really keep in mind is that children, no matter how old, always look up to their parents for guidance and support. As the old saying goes; monkey see, monkey do.

Page Updated: December 25, 2016
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