No parent wants to see their child suffer and you will do everything within your power to protect them. However, as children grow, they become more dependent. For most teenagers at least, choosing to discuss with their parent’s things that they might be struggling with is rare. It could be that they are experiencing bullying at school, discovering their sexuality, gender identity, or that they are having a hard time with their body image. It’s easy to feel insecure about your looks in a world that seemingly demands perfection, and where beauty standards are determined by a small elite. It’s easy to understand how people can develop eating orders at any age with these kinds of pressures, but often it starts in adolescence. If you’re a parent who is concerned that your child might be developing or has developed an eating disorder, here are some signs to look out for.
Weight Loss or Weight Gain
If you have noticed that your child has appeared to lose a lot of weight in a short time that isn’t as a result of being ill, this could be an indicator that they are hiding an eating disorder. Equally, if they appear to have gained a lot of weight this could be an indication of binge eating disorder. There are many reasons why a person’s weight might go up and down, but if you can’t find any logical explanation for this and their weight is starting to appear unhealthy, this should be cause for concern. You should contact specialists like the Eden Treatment centers for further advice if you think your child is at an unhealthy weight.
They Avoid Eating with Others
Another sign that they might be struggling with an eating disorder is if they are starting to avoid eating in front of other people. This could be to hide the fact that they are eating less than usual, or that they are overeating. If someone has an unhealthy relationship with food, it can be a cause of embarrassment and shame for them when it comes to eating meals, which is why they don’t like to do this with others present.
They’re Suddenly Fussy About What They Eat
A lot of parents might struggle with their kids being fussy about certain foods, this is quite common. However, if your child is suddenly refusing to eat certain types of food and only wants to eat specific things and controlling these amounts this should be a red flag. This is because they are starting to restrict themselves based on unrealistic ideas of how much they ought to be eating and what foods they consider to be good for their diet.
They Have Become Overly Concerned with Their Body Image
Everybody goes through periods where they might not feel great about their appearance, but if your child has become overly concerned with their body image this isn’t healthy behavior. They might start only wearing certain clothes because they feel uncomfortable in other styles, or spend more time obsessing over their body by looking in mirrors and picking out their flaws. Calling themselves ‘too fat’, ‘ugly’, or other derogative terms more regularly is also something to look out for.
If you have noticed any of these signs in your child, it might be time to seek professional advice. You can speak to your doctor discreetly about your concerns to get further advice on treatments such as counselling that could help your child combat an eating disorder.