My Teen Girls Won't Eat

by Jennifer H
(Atlanta, Georgia,)

I am worried because my teen girls won't eat. I know they are at that age where they are starting to show interest in boys and want to measure up.


My worry is that they aren't getting proper nutrition. They are not starving themselves but they seem so preoccupied with being thin.

Whenever I try to talk to them about it they get angry and start a fight. I do my best to offer them a well balanced meal but they never "clean their plate".

I'm tired of hearing them say "You should be happy that I'm not fat". Could they develop a full blown eating disorder?

answer

Jennifer:

Thank you for your contribution. You have touched on a subject that has serious ramifications. Many teens become obsessed with body image particularly teen girls.

Part of the problem is the image that is perceived through the media and magazines. Teen girls need to understand that this is an unattainable image and un-healthy one.

Yes it is possible for them to develop a full blown eating disorder which is why you need to help them. Eating disorders can slow down growth, puberty, and breast development.

Many times eating disorders go unnoticed so you are a step ahead of the game. By all means don't give in. You're involvement is needed now more than ever.

Depending on your situation it is advised to see your family doctor. Together you can work a plan that will work. I can't emphasize enough the importance of your involvement. Be supportive and make sure they understand how much you love them.

There is only so much that can be accomplished from the doctors office so your input is critical. You are going to need to be the observer.

Are they the last ones to arrive at the table during mealtime and the first to leave? Do they eat their meal or just move the food around? If they do eat their meal do they then go to the bathroom and purge?

Many parents feel as though they are controlling when being the observer. You must know that eating disorders and lack of nutrition effects your child's rational thinking.

It is difficult to talk to kids about their eating habits because it is a sensitive issue. Find creative ways to have open dialog and let them contribute to the conversation.

Our Eating Disorders In Children page has some useful steps for making positive changes. I hope this helps.

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