If you're noticing signs that your teenager may be battling an eating disorder, discussing this difficult topic with him or her and arranging professional help from a counselor is paramount. As your teen undergoes counseling, you may wish to think about the potential reasons for his or her struggles. There are many potential reasons for a teen to develop an eating disorder, and many of these do not involve you or your parenting style in any way. However, it's also possible that you may have encouraged your teen down this difficult path without knowing it. If this is the case, you'll certainly want to identify and change these behaviors for the health of your teen. Here are some things that you may have done.
Made Weight-Related Comments
Some parents fail to realize that a seemingly innocuous comment can actually be difficult for a teenager to hear. For example, you may have occasionally made comments about your teen's weight. Perhaps he or she was getting a little heavy, and you suggested that being lighter would be better. This type of sentiment might seem insignificant to you, but some teens can view it as a critique of not only their weight, but of themselves. This may push a teen to develop an eating disorder in an effort to reach a "favorable" weight.
Struggled With Weight Yourself
Sometimes, a parent doesn't need to say much about weight to send a clear message to his or her teenager. In some scenarios, a parent who has consistently struggled with his or her weight over the years can influence his or her teenager to be fixated on weight. Perhaps you've often been overweight, but have always tried dieting, slimming garments, and exercise in an effort to look thinner. This behavior could make a teen concerned that he or she might be heading down a road toward weight gain, prompting him or her to develop an eating disorder.
Never Made A Teen Feel Good
Some teenagers develop eating disorders because they don't feel good about themselves. Even if you're never specifically critiqued your teen's weight, nagging him or her about grades, clothing, friends, habits, and a long list of teenage-related issues could make your teen feel as though it's impossible to please you. As a result, the teen may seek to gain control over one thing in his or her life, and that's his or her weight. Once you've identified that you may have contributed to your teen's eating disorder, you may wish to arrange counseling yourself, such as with Dr. Stephen Brown & Associates.