If you are a parent of a teenager who suffers from an eating disorder, you may feel helpless, confused, and frustrated at times. Often, signs of an eating disorder are not apparent until your teen shows outward changes physically or behaviorally, such as excessive weight loss, refusal to eat in front of others, extreme fear of gaining weight, or obsessive exercise regimens. It is important that you get professional help for your teen, but you can also talk to your teen about eating disorders in a way that will help foster a positive attitude about the situation.
Teenagers with eating disorders such as anorexia, bulimia, and binge eating, often have low self-esteem and are self-conscious. They may also be depressed and anxious, and feel guilty about their actions. To prevent these negative feelings from becoming worse, you should have conversations about eating disorders in a non-confrontational manner. Select a time when you can talk in private. Avoid making accusations, threats, and demands of your teen, and do not discuss body image or try to dismiss your teen’s feeling. Talk, instead, about how you are concerned about their health and discuss what the long-term effects of eating disorders are.
Seek the help of an impartial third party, such as a nutritionist, doctor, counselor, or specialist. Often, teens find it easier to open up to people who are not directly related because they feel less judged. Eating disorders can be treated successfully if caught early and treated with proper guidance and education. Talk to your teen about eating disorders at the first sign of any problems, and you will have a better chance of helping your teen.