Often parents have dilemmas when it comes to handling their teenaged children, thinking that if they interfere too much, the children might rebel and protest. If they don’t, these kids may think that the parents are not bothered about them and turn to self-destructive behaviors or fall in with bad company.
So it is very important for a parent to be aware of what their child’s lifestyle is all about and gently advise when things are not going right. A parent should see that their child is eating right and is healthy. For instance, emotional problems often create havoc in a teenager’s life, and the parent should be aware if the child’s behavior changes drastically. Mental health is a serious issue at this age, and one problem that often troubles a teenager, especially a girl, is an eating disorder, Anorexia being chief among it. Parents of teenage girls, in particular, should be on a look out for this trouble as it can turn fatal in some cases.
The Signs And Symptoms Of Anorexia
The reason why girls and increasingly boys develop Anorexia is because peer acceptance is very important at this age. Looks and body image matter too much in the social scenario of a teenager; and unrealistic body images seen in the glamour world, influence them very much. While it is important to be of healthy weight, a parent should be alert if their daughter is obsessive about gaining weight. If your child is loosing weight rapidly and still refusing to eat in fear of becoming fat, then it is something to be worried about. Watch out if your child regularly skips major meals like breakfast or dinner and is very fussy when it comes to eating. She may want to eat only low fat items like lettuce, tomatoes or sprouts and making a note of how much calorie that are eating for each and every item in the table. She may even go for diet pills or crash diets to lose weight.
As for physical symptoms, teenagers suffering from anorexia often faint or have dizziness. Their skin and hair may start to dry and in extreme cases; girls may stop having their menstrual cycle. On the emotional front, your child may become irritable and cranky and also refuse to listen to suggestion of seeing a doctor or therapist for their problem or even refusing to admit that they have a problem.
How To Deal With Anorexia
First of all, you have to understand what a normal weight is for your child and when is she overweight. So regularly weighing your child and noting her height in order to calculate her BMI is very important. If she is of normal weight, and still insists on losing weight, then it is time you educate her about the dangers of anorexia. Many teenagers see it as a “cool” thing; so you have to be very tactful and explain to her about the dangers of anorexia on her growing body. Healthy eating should be encouraged and not dieting; one way to do that is encourage your child to participate in the cooking of the family meal. Talking with her regarding her fears and her body image is very important. If the case is very drastic, take the help of a therapist to heal your child.