Eating disorders come in all different shapes and sizes. Being responsible and making sure that you are not commenting on your daughters weight or talking about your own weight in front of them is great but it may not be enough. Teens continue slipping into binge eating or some form of an eating disorder and it is hard to prevent it from happening. As parents sit wondering why, so does the rest of the world.
The next few paragraphs will be primarily about eating disorder signs that may pop up in children’s behavior.
Noticing the slightest hint of unusual eating patterns in your child is the most effective step. Some common patterns your child may engage in include leaving school lunch at home, constantly claiming he/she is not hungry, skipping meals, and/or rejecting old favorite foods. Seeking out help or finding out more information is a must after detecting these unhealthy patterns in children. Parents may notice something and decide to brush it off and wait to see what happens. Au contraire, move fast and do not second guess your instincts.
Another sign of a potential eating disorder is excessive exercising. If your child is a member of a sports team already, then pinpointing that extra workout in their busy schedules is hard to determine. However, if you notice that they are constantly wanting to work out, lying about how much time they spend in the gym, or pushing their bodies to the extreme, then something may be off. Bring it up to a professional who can help guide you in the right direction, rather than attacking the teen on your own volition as this tends to backfire.
Lastly, teens love to talk about themselves but also love to criticize themsleves. “Do I look skinny in this?” “Am I too fat in these jeans?”. If you start hearing these comments on a repeated basis, take action immediately. In addition, if you notice your child standing in front of the mirror for more time than usual, and constantly checking their weight, make note of these red flags. Once again, trust your instincts.