If you notice your teen is skipping meals, only taking a bite or two of their food every meal, or running to the bathroom every time dinner’s over, it may be a sign she has a teen eating disorder of some kind. Even if it turns out to be something else, it’s important to have a conversation with her about teen eating disorders and their dangerous ramifications.
What do I say?
Talking to your teen about teen eating disorders may seem like an intimidating conversation to have. You may be having thoughts like, “what if she does have an eating disorder and I’m only going to make things worse with this talk” or “if she doesn’t have an eating disorder she may become self conscious about the way she eats”. Whatever you’re thinking, push those thoughts out. If you’re noticing any symptoms of teen eating disorders, you need to talk to your daughter about it. No matter what. Here are some pointers for this conversation:
- Start the conversation right after you notice her carrying out one of the worrisome habits (like after she returns from the bathroom after dinner). That way, you can point out the behavior while it’s happening and she can’t deny it.
- Make sure your daughter is comfortable talking about it. Before going off on a rant about your worries, ask her if it’s okay for you to share what’s on your mind. If she’s not open to listening, nothing is going to come from this conversation.
- Be straightforward about your worries. Instead of beating around the bush, tell her with compassion and love that you think she has an eating disorder because you’ve noticed X and Y symptoms.
- Be prepared with a plan. Don’t go into this conversation without an endgame in mind. If she admits to having a problem, you need to have a professional already set up to speak to. This is a problem that needs to be addressed sooner rather than later.
- Don’t blame yourself. This is not your fault or your daughter’s fault. You can work through this together as a family.
For additional help
If your daughter has been experiencing mild eating issues, please consider Solstice residential treatment center for teen girls ages 14-18.
For more information about Solstice, please call (866) 278-3345.