Maybe you’ve had a hunch your teen is struggling, but you’ve talked yourself out of worrying too much. It is incredibly difficult as a parent, especially with teenagers, to know when to step in and when to give them space.
Diet culture and weight bias can also interfere with our ability as parents to spot when our teen is struggling with an eating disorder. This is a problem because early detection and treatment of eating disorders leads to the best long-term outcomes.
Let’s talk through some of the most common misconceptions of eating disorders so you’ll know a bit better if your concern is warranted.
When we think our teen is struggling, it’s important to work through our own biases and misconceptions so that we can be open for communication. The key takeaway here is that we cannot tell from a person’s race, weight, athleticism, social or academic success whether or not they have an eating disorder. If your gut tells you something is off about your teen’s relationship with food, talk with them to learn how they see the issue, listen with care and refrain from trying to convince them of anything. If your concerns continue, reach out to your child’s medical provider, school psychologist or social worker, or other professional to consider next steps.
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