An eating disorder is considered a serious mental illness that affects the physical and mental health of a person, especially for teenagers, eating disorder in teenager can have detrimental effects on their development. Research shows that eating disorders are often from early puberty, body changes but the reason is not simply as parents often see.
Teen eating disorders are rooted in distorted self-image. The article below will help you understand why wrong perceptions of the body make your child experience anorexia, and how to prevent them from getting eating disorders.
Different types of eating disorders
- Anorexia nervosa: when someone tries to lose more weight than is considered healthy and often has a distorted image of the body.
- Bulimia nervosa: teens with anorexia eat a very large amount of food and then tries to remove the food in an unhealthy way by vomiting or using a laxative.
- Binge-eating disorder: when someone binge-eating large amounts of food (usually eating very quickly and eating until discomfort).
- Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder (ARFID), also known as “extreme picky eating”, is an eating disorder characterized by highly selective eating habits, or eating only a small amount of food, or both, often leading to significant nutritional and energy deficiencies.
Symptoms of eating disorders
About eating habits:
- Teens cut down on their diet or limit eating
- Children limit their intake of major food groups such as meat or milk
- Loses weight or goes up and down in weight
About mood, behavior:
- Your baby may look anxious or irritable, especially around mealtimes
- He/she avoid social activities with friends, especially activities involve food
- He/she go to the bathroom or toilet right after a meal
- The child is vomiting or using laxatives
- Your child exercising too much, especially when alone in the bedroom
About physical health and appearance
- Your daughter’s periods are irregular, or her periods stop completely
- They are always tired or lack energy
- They complain about being cold all the time, even in warm weather
- Children are prone to fainting, or dizziness
- They have constipation
- Have soft fluff that grows on your child’s face, arms, or torso
- Hair loss
- Swollen or puffy cheeks, damaged teeth or gums, and sores in the knuckles or hands can all be signs that your baby is making himself vomiting.
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Why your child is at risk for eating disorders in adolescence?
In addition to some of the factors that cause your baby to suffer eating disorders in teens like family history of eating disorders, child obsessive compulsions, perfectionism, early puberty, anxiety and depression, etc. There are 2 cognitive reasons that are negatively affecting your baby every day, leading to a serious teenager eating disorder:
Looking forward to being accepted
Puberty can be a time of great risk when your baby can treat his or her body in unhealthy ways. During the teen years, your child’s body and brain develop quickly. A lot of changes happen in the way your child thinks, feels, and relates to others.
Puberty is the age when children depend more on friends and relationships with friends, so they tend to make themselves look “cool” to be recognized and accepted by their friends. In other words, your child becomes more sensitive to the world around him/her and how others see him/her, so he/she will become more aware of his/her body image.
While boys are concerned that their bodies are not muscular enough to attract girls, many boys risk using illegal steroids to make themselves more attractive, girls are at risk of strict eating to make their bodies look so skinny and, therefore, deemed attractive.
Eating disorders in teens – by media, movies
Not just friends, but movies, TV shows, websites and negative effects of social media on teenager may be delivering the message that only a certain type of body shape is acceptable. A skinny body is recognized and being praised by everyone, thus negatively affecting your child’s perspective of defining a beautiful body.
Many teenagers have begun to learn about sex and many have approached porn to satisfy their curiosity. Because they are obsessed with the bodies of actors in porn movies, they may suffer low self-esteem after watching porn and assume that no one will like them unless their body is like the actors in porn movies.
Since children know they will get scolded by their parents when they catch them watching porn, this is often the reason why are children suffering teen eating disorders but rarely noticed by parents.
Research has shown that porn has a negative effect on body awareness, especially among teenagers, so you should minimize your child’s access to harmful content by using online content filtering tools to hide 15 types of harmful content on the Internet, including:
- Horrifying content like gore, accidents, ghosts, violence, murder, terrorism, etc
- Content about stimulants, addictive substances such as alcohol, beer, marijuana, drugs, etc
- Content with aggressive elements, hurting others like Hate speech
The special thing is that this free porn blocker extension is completely free, helps to minimize your child’s access to harmful content, ensuring a healthy online environment for your child but at the same time, not invading their privacy rights.
Eating disorder in teenager – How can parents prevent them from misconceptions about body image?
Don’t judge on looks and weight
One thing is to avoid is that you shouldn’t comment on your child’s appearance or weight. Never make fun of another person’s body shape or use words that are meant to make fun of another person’s body in front of your child. Make sure that what you say, what you comment show that you don’t care about being fat or thin.
Teach your children to value themselves
Besides, encouraging a healthy body image by talking informally with your baby and reassuring that he or she is in good shape and healthy. Teach your children to value and love themselves that they have their own beauty that no one else can find.
Build trust and show your child that you are there to listen when he or she wants to share and talk with you. Let them know you love them unconditionally – not because of their weight or appearance.
Share the dangers of eating disorders in adolescence
A truly beautiful body will come from a long and enduring training process, not from days of excessive fasting or too much exercise. Explain that dieting can affect your child’s nutrition, development and health, as well as lead to the development of overeating over time.
Eating or controlling your diet is not a healthy way to deal with your emotions. Instead, encourage your children to talk to their loved ones, friends and family about the problems they are having.
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