centered within logo cenered within - eating disorders, body esteem, personal growth, relationships
Andrea Borgatello, LCSW #LCS20359

For Parents

It is very common for children, particularly adolescents, to be self-conscious about their body size and shape. During puberty their bodies are changing dramatically, and at a very rapid pace.

These changes are often occurring much faster then the adolescent mind can process. This imbalance can result in feelings of fear and confusion, as well as a sense of being out of control.

Add to that mounting social pressures and a culture that promotes unhealthy images of beauty, and you get a ripe environment for the development of an eating disorder.

Determining whether your child’s “normal” concern about their body has gone too far can be overwhelming and frustrating. The following signs and symptoms should always explored further:

•Unexplained weight loss

• Changes in food behavior (cutting out particular food groups, such as meat or dairy products).

• Feelings of unhappiness with body size and shape that appears to interfere with regular activities.

Regardless of the age of your child, it is critical that you voice your concerns.

What to do when discussing your concerns with your child

• Be direct.

• Do not judge or use guilt to induce change.

• Be specific, avoid use words such as “always” and “never”.

• Discuss patterns of behavior, rather then isolated events.

• Do not threaten or punish.

• Have a conversation during an “emotionally neutral” time.

Individuals with eating disorders can be very defensive. Deceptive behavior, resistance and manipulation should not be viewed as character defects.

Rather, they represent the person’s fear of change and desire to protect their eating disorder. Parents often fear their child’s eating disorder and as a result avoid the problem and inadvertently enable very dangerous behavior.

If your child refuses treatment, it is important that you seek professional advice. Talking with an eating-disorder specialist can help you navigate this overwhelming experience. With good education, appropriate boundaries and specific skills you can learn to effectively manage a very difficult situation.

"We can do no great things, only small things with great love." - Mother Teresa

address: 106 West Mission, Santa Barbara, CA 93101, Phone number 805-680-1216