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How to protect teens from eating disorders

Teenage is the most challenging phase for your child as well as your parenthood, as it is also the most sensitive and crucial chapter of a child’s life. During this period children are most difficult and impossible to handle as they consider their parents’ advice to be mere lectures to which they may pay no heed at all. As parents, no matter how hard we try to cocoon our little ones from the adversities of life, most of the time our children end up adapting to unhealthy and insecure habits. One of the most common among them being eating disorders. Being over weight or under weight; both these extremes leave behind a very bad impact on the minds of teens and in order to overcome that, they try to restrict themselves from a healthy balanced diet required for their mental and physical growth.

A child sees the world through the eyes of his parents. At every stage of life they are his best friends, philosopher and guide. As a parent one should be extra cautious in dispensing his duties the right way because a child always follows the footprints of his parents. If we as parents, do not create a positive attitude towards weight and health, our children are sure to get lost in this big wide world.

1. Stop the fat talk

To create a healthy environment in and around your home, one should never indulge in negative talks regarding one’s own body and weight. Not only does this make you lose your self confidence, it also leaves behind a negative vibration in your child’s mind. Do not look down upon people who are over weight or not very appealing in sight. Stop discriminating people on the basis of their shape and size and try to shape up your child’s world with other better positive ideas and aspirations.

2. Cultivate healthy attitudes

‘Health is wealth,’ your little one should have this drilled in his mind and this is possible only if you as a parent take the initiative to set an example in front of him. Inducing your child to include exercise as a part of his daily routine, and making him realize the importance of a healthy mind and body, is the responsibility of the parents. Stipulated and timely meals and indulging in talks on nourishment can be of added advantage.

3. Be alert to notice behavioral patterns which might indicate eating disorders

Compulsive over eating or restrictive eating, both are highly injurious to the health of your teenage kid. Kids belonging to the teenage group get more influenced by friends than by any other kin. They try to ape their counterparts. As parents, we should be vigilant to notice any sudden behavioral change in our child’s eating habits. Constant dieting, wearing loose clothes deliberately to hide body shape, special behavior showing obsession with weight, taking laxatives or diet pills, rushing to the toilet immediately after eating to throw up, avoiding social gatherings involving food, eating in isolation or at night and visiting websites that promote quick and unhealthy weight loss, these are some symptoms which can help you ascertain whether your child is suffering from eating disorders.

4. Tips for bringing up a touchy topic

Once you become sure that your child is developing eating disorders, as a concerned parent you should step down and get to work immediately before this problem becomes more alarming. Instead of getting into dramatic confrontations and emotional blackmails, try to be more patient and sensible in your reaction. Do not get hysterical as your love and support are the only weapons which can bring your child back on the track. Avoid being judgmental about things and try to remind your child of some happy moments of care and concern shown by you. Do not make the mistake of making comments on his or her appearance or eating. Before approaching your child, make sure that the backdrop, setting and timing is neutral and comfortable. This will avoid your little one from revolting and will help him to comprehend and grasp your suggestions in a more positive spirit.

5. Hope for the future

No matter how much a teenager tries to deny this fact, but in his heart of hearts he does realize that the support of his family, friends and relatives is inevitable in giving him strength to fight any kind of adverse situations in life. Your comfort and support will not only induce self confidence in him but will also be the most integral guiding force for him. There is no harm in asking for assistance from professionals in this field or in taking help from support groups to help your child build new hopes for a bright future.

No matter how huge a problem is, positive attitude, with a zeal to overcome it can make you come out of it with flying colors.

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