How to Help Teens Struggling With Body Image Issues

How to Help Teens Struggling With Body Image Issues

As the parent of a teenager, you need to recognize the signs of unhealthy body image. If you don’t take action now, your teen’s diminished self-esteem could follow them into adulthood. Here are a few tips to help kids who are experiencing body image issues.

Monitor Their Social Media

Social media has made it easier than ever for teenagers to stay connected to the outside world. Unfortunately, these sites can contribute to body image issues. Many teenagers equate getting likes on social media with being attractive. Some will even go to the extent of editing their photos to make themselves look different. Teens who don’t receive any positive feedback often start to feel inferior. When interacting with your child, take time to discuss the importance of not allowing others to dictate their worth.

Stress the Importance of Exercise

Research shows that even a small amount of exercise can help improve body image. However, the purpose of regular exercise isn’t to transform your teen’s body. Active teens naturally tend to have a higher level of confidence. Simply working out 30 minutes a day can have a positive impact. You should also encourage your teen to become involved in sports.

Seek Professional Help

Oftentimes, parents can’t do it all on their own. If you notice your teen is dealing with an eating disorder, don’t be afraid to reach out for professional help. Inpatient eating disorder treatment will enable your teen to get their life back on track. These programs are designed to do more than just treat a serious medical condition. They also give teens the proper guidance and mental support.

Be Positive

Puberty can be a challenging event for some teenagers. It’ll take some time for them to become completely comfortable with their changing body. The last thing they need is any negative criticism about their appearance. Always strive to make your teen feel good. Nothing beats having a good support system. At least a few days a week, make it a point to eat together. Teens who participate in family meals are less likely to engage in risky behaviors.

Be a Good Role Model

Whether you’re a big brother or mother, be a good role model for the teen in your life. They could view you as a source of inspiration. You should make self-confidence a big point of emphasis.

Teenagers have it rougher than you may think. Poor body image isn’t a problem that will disappear overnight. With a little help, your teen can gradually start to overcome their struggles.


4 Tips to Help Children with Eating Disorders

4 Tips to Help Children with Eating Disorders

Dealing with an eating disorder is never easy, and it may be an even more sensitive issue when your own child is struggling with it. Helping children with eating disorders can be challenging, but by remembering a few tips, it is possible for you to open up your child to the possibility of future recovery.

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Choose the Right Time to Talk

Talking with your child is the most reliable way to get results, but it is important to do it right. You want to pick a good time to engage your child so that they are not distracted or constrained. You do not want to engage them in the middle of a conversation because it will catch them by surprise. Be sure to choose a time when both of you are emotionally calm and will be able to sit down and discuss thing as necessary.

Explain Your Concerns

Always avoid lecturing whenever it is possible. You want to talk to them on a one on one level, as this will allow them to feel listened to, which, in turn, will encourage them to listen to you. Refer to specific behaviors and situations that you have noticed, and discuss why they may be a source of worry for you. The goal at this time is to express concerns about your child’s health.

Always be Patient and Supportive

It is natural for your child to shut you out during this trying time. It will take a little bit of time before they are willing to admit that they are having a problem. The most important thing that you can do during such a time is to be as open and supportive as possible. Listen to them and be patient as they come to terms with what is bothering them.

Look into Clinical Options

Once you and your child have opened up to the idea of looking into outside sources of help, it is important for you to begin thinking about the treatment options for eating disorders. Here, you can discuss clinics and speaking with the appropriate experts. Make sure that your child feels as involved in the process.

Like with any other such issues, speaking with a medical professional will provide you and your loved one with the most reliable long-term results. You want to make sure that your child knows you are there for them and that the opportunity to recover is always present, no matter how difficult the struggle may be for now.

Find more ways to help your kids with eating disorders

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Recognizing & Helping Your Boys Through Eating Disorders

Recognizing & Helping Your Boys Through Eating Disorders

Eating Disorders usually are only ever  discussed or thought of in terms of adolescent girls. Boys were certain not discussed as having eating disorders at school, or even thereafter! Actually, come to think of it, anything to do with mental illness is not openly discussed anywhere!

Imagine the surprise when the doctor says “Does he have a cognitive condition relating to this? (“This” being a continuous battle to not be underweight – which we are not mentioning with the child in the room.)

So – let’s see some statistics… The first thing Google shows is the “Australian Butterfly Foundation – support for eating disorders & body image issues.

The statistics shown as follows:

• 1 in 24 Australians has an eating disorder (that is approximately 1 million people).

Then, the more surprising statistic…

• 30% of Australians with an eating disorder are male!

What? Boys have eating issues too?
Yes, that’s what it means! Boys have eating issues too!

Ok, as the dust settles on that slightly perturbing fact… slowly sense and reality are sinking in!

Hindsight is an interesting thing! Especially when anxiety related complaints are concerned. Living in the moment it is sometimes difficult to make the connection. No one wants to mention it!

Recognizing & Helping Your Boys Through Eating Disorders
Now for the tricky part:

The signs of anxiety fueled food issues are obvious if you know what to look for.

As a Toddler – A referral to the Occupational Therapist for food aversion and Food Jags! After the allergist has given you a list of foods to avoid.  Now you know what to avoid but a small boy just wants no food! Several months of supervision from pediatrician, nurse and OT and perhaps now the end is nigh!

As a preschooler – Mum returned to study/work and a small boy enjoys his day at preschool painting, coloring, playing in the sand pit. Oh, no! Someone forgot you must wear your shoes in the sand pit as you don’t like the feel on your feet. Anxiety up! Pumpkin soup for lunch and you just want a cheese sandwich which no one will make for you. No eaten lunch and it fails to be documented. No eaten lunch any day you attend and No one thinks to tell dad and he does not know to ask.  He just assumes you have eaten and gives you afternoon tea (cheese sandwiches). You just want to be home! Weight loss begins to appear. It is put down to a growth spurt. Dietitian advice very active child needs more dinner and breakfast.

Kindergarten – new people, new routine, and new baby brother. Anxiety increases and eating issues recommence. Kindergarten teacher makes a rule one sandwich eaten before going outside for lunch play. Hot chocolate and protein powder added to breakfast. Again doctor discusses appropriate eating and healthily growth rates.

Grade 2 – enter a dyslexia, dysgraphia and formal anxiety diagnosis.  Finally, seven years later a plan covering understanding allergies, asthma and how they affect eating habits, also how they are treated, in child friendly language. Anxiety reduces to normal. Weight and height meet acceptable growth rates, or just!

Now – a plan is in place to meet all future contingencies… except the wicked vomiting bug that, 3 years later has the child off the weight chart again. Leaving on the bus in the morning happy and well, and returning as white as a sheet with his dad carrying him. He collapsed vomiting at school. They said he needs to see a doctor. His dad says “Do they think i dont feed him, or something?” New school, new language, anxiety high and again he is struggling to eat. The difference is this time he knows that he must eat!

Visiting the doctor my husband is worried. I am not worried about the doctor we just need help to get this bug gone so.we can establish his health. I know what I need from this new country and new doctor. Thankfully the doctor understands me when I say “This is not our first rodeo! We have done this at 3, 4.5, and 7 years old too. He cannot shake the tummy bug. 4 days and he is still unwell. Then we have a fairly extensive plan for healthy weight gains.


The doctor orders the right test and guesses the medicine needed from our previous experiences. He correctly identified the bug and medication required so we don’t need to change it.  Ordering a stronger dose of vitamins to help him on his way to being healthy again.

So, now we know! Boys have eating issues too! 💕

In Australia, if you or some you know has an issue with eating please contact your doctor or call the helpline.

Australian Butterfly Foundation – support for eating disorders & body image issues , https://www.thebutterflyfoundation.org.au/our-services/helpline/
Australia 1800 334 673

Lifeline available 24/7,Telephone 13 11 14
https://www.lifeline.org.au/about-lifeline/contact-us

You can read more about how to help your child with a confident body image here.