Doctors Urge Parents to Look for the Five Signs that may Indicate a Child Has an Eating Disorder
As parents you do everything you can to protect, your children and no one can deny that eating disorders are on the rise in even children as young as four years old. This is all common knowledge if you turn on your computer or television set. Do not allow yourself to fall into the “No not my child.” trap because if you ignore the signs of an eating disorder - way to much harm both physically and mentally will come to your child. Often times the most protective and diligent parents miss the signs that is not your fault tweens and teens are really good at hiding things. It is almost as if they spend their free time trying to figure new ways to hide things not just from their parents but also from everyone. It is all part of growing up.
Sign 1 Your Child may have an Eating Disorder
The first sign is the most obvious weight loss. If you child suddenly loses five or more pounds this calls for a visit to the doctor. It is not hard to notice your son or daughters cloths falling off them. Also if they stat to dress in clothes three times to big for them in an attempt to hide the weight loss.
The second sign is a sudden change in eating habits. If your child normally devours your pot roast, dinner and you find them pushing it around on the plate that should raise a red flag. Therefore, the next evening make another one of their favorite meals or get their favorite take out and see if the same thing happens again. Also, look for a sudden change in any “dislike” of a certain food group such as meat, dairy etc… If your child skips meals or leaves their lunch or lunch money at home, these are more red flags.
The third sign is an extreme increase in exercising or physical activities. If your child has disliked bike riding and now insists on riding their bike everywhere, you may want to question that action and keep an eye on it. If your child suddenly wants to join a gym and play, every sport offered at school that requires attention.
The fourth sign is a distorted body image. If your daughter starts asking questions like “Do you think I am fat?” “Do these jeans make me look fat?” Alternatively, making any type of negative comment about their body you should be considered. This sign is common for young girls and teens but it is also a warning sign. Try to encourage her that she is not fat and has a beautiful body. You want to put an end to this one before it becomes an obsession then develops into something more.
The fifth sign your child may have an eating disorder is anxiety. Eating disorders and anxiety are both mental health conditions so it is likely that the two would go together. Now, if your child is anxious over an upcoming test or the dance on Saturday night. You should not be to concerned that is common. The type of anxiety you should be concerned about is related to food, eating out, or just falling apart for no apparent reason.
As a parent if you have any concerns about your child’s behavior regarding eating habits or anything else it is always best to make an appointment with their doctor and let him/her guide you through the process of what is or is not happening with your child.