Behind Closed Doors: 4 Talking Points When Speaking to Teenagers About Eating Disorders
Eating disorders are common among teens. In fact, 50 percent of teenage girls and 30 percent of teenage boys have done something unhealthy in order to lose weight or maintain their weight. That is why it is important for parents to talk to their teens about eating disorders. There are several things that you will need to discuss with your teen.
Discuss Healthy Eating Habits
You should discuss the importance of following a healthy diet with your teen. Talk to them about how certain foods can affect their health. You should also encourage them to eat when they are hungry. Furthermore, it is a good idea to eat meals together as a family on a regular basis. Often time’s kids pick up on traits from adults. If you are battling with self-depreciative remarks chances are they will too.
Discuss the Media Messages
Many Teens Feel Pressured to Look a Certain Way Because of What They See On
Television, movies and social media. You should talk to your teen about what they see in the media. Tell your teen that they do not have to look like a celebrity. You should also tell them that there are several body types. Health and beauty isn’t determined on a scale.
If you are worried about the influence of certain celebrities, youtubers, and ads that inundate young people, especially women have them follow positive role models that speak out against these toxic environments. Actress, Jameela Jamil of NBC’s “The Good Place” is a great body image advocate on Instagram. She recently started an “I Weigh” campaign to combat the stigmas surrounding body image. Her campaign is based that your worth is more than the number on a scale, you weigh your loved ones, your talents, your accomplishments, there’s a whole person that’s more important than a number on a scale.
Promote a Healthy Self-Esteem
You should tell your teen that you love them regardless of how they look. You will also need to praise them for their accomplishments. When they do something well, you will need to let them know. You will also need to focus on their positive inner qualities such as kindness and a sense of humor. This will teach your teen that their worth is not based on how they look. Do you only praise young girls on their looks, but complement young boys on their intelligence or bravery? Why is that? We should introspect about the messages we give children.
Discuss the Dangers of Eating Disorders
Many teens do not realize how dangerous eating disorders can be. That is why it is important for you to educate them about the dangers of eating disorders. Tell them that an eating disorder can stunt their growth. You should also talk to them about the adverse effects that eating disorders can have on one’s health. Teach them that influencers get paid for promoting laxative teas and meal replacement suckers. It’s their job, not a public service announcement.
Eating disorders can lead to heart problems and kidney problems. An eating disorder can also lead to malnutrition, which can weaken the bones and teeth. If you see warning signs don’t dismiss them as a phase or something passing. Talk to your teen. Use a therapist as a mediator if you don’t know what to say. If they need help, there are plenty of bulimia treatment centers that specialize in this sort of care. You are not alone. They are not alone.
Communication is one of the keys to preventing eating disorders in teens. You will need to encourage your teen to eat healthy. You will also need to talk about what your teen sees in the media. Additionally, you should promote a healthy self-esteem to your teens and discuss the dangers of eating disorders.