Realizing that your teenager may have an eating disorder is a jarring experience. You’re likely worried about both their physical and mental health. As thus, you want to know where to start and how to proceed in helping your teenager to come to terms with the eating disorder.
You want your teenagers to recover from their eating disorder, and you might feel stressed, or possibly even angry, about the situation. Keep in mind that your kids are the ones battling the disorder. They may even feel ashamed about the fact that they have an eating disorder. Judging them and speaking to them in a confrontational manner is unlikely to resolve the issue. In fact, you’re likely to push them further away from you.
Your teenagers need to know that you’re there to listen to them. While you don’t want to spew forth a bombardment of questions, you do need to show that you’re interested in what your children have to say. Ask your youngsters questions about how they are feeling or what they think might have changed their eating habits. Giving teenagers a platform to speak is a powerful tool.
Trying to resolve the eating disorder at home is likely to be a challenging task, especially when the problem has progressed into more advanced stages. Therefore, seeking professional eating disorder treatment is key. The thought of having your children going to inpatient treatment, for example, might seem frightening or overwhelming at first. However, getting out of their regular environment can be the solution.
As a family, you can work toward having a healthier lifestyle. You can frame recovering from the eating disorder as a part of that healthy lifestyle. You might try out new recipes together as a family, but do keep in mind that not every activity should focus on food. Instead of looking only at dietary habits, aim to get more exercise into your regular routine. You and your children might start going on nightly walks around the neighborhood, or you could research recreational sports leagues in the community.
When you realize that your teenager has an eating disorder, you may very well feel upset and anxious. Remember that you need to keep your teenager’s health in sharp focus. While you are going to need professional assistance as you help your teenager to recover, keep in mind that you can take some useful steps to assist as well.