Everyone has different eating habits. But if you’re worried about your child’s relationship with food or their body, it might be worth looking for some support.
If your child’s eating habits negatively affect their everyday life, they may have an eating disorder. This is when someone uses food to cope with certain situations or feelings. Teenagers between 13 and 17 are most at risk, but anyone can have an eating disorder.
It can be helpful to know the signs and what to do if you’re worried about your child.
Your child’s eating habits are likely to change over time. This is normal, and you can help them develop a healthy relationship with food. But they may have an eating disorder if they:
You may also notice some changes in behaviour. You child might be more irritable, have mood swings, or feel guilt or shame. They may show signs of low self-esteem.
Some examples of eating disorders include anorexia, bulimia and binge eating. There are many types of disorder and not everyone will experience the same symptoms. People can have other physical or mental health issues at the same time.
Try to get an understanding what your child may be going through. Offer a supportive environment to tackle any challenges they’re facing.
Educate yourself on what it means to have a difficult relationship with food. The charity Beat has some information on different types of eating disorder. The website also includes real-life stories of people’s experiences, a chat room, and information on workshops for parents.
Want more support? For advice on your specific issue, speak to one of our parenting coaches.
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