The media and social pressures have created body-image issues amongst many teenagers and young children. Over 50% of teenage girls and 33% of teenage boys are actively restricting their diets in order to lose weight at any given time. This can lead to the development of many eating disorders. If you've noticed that your child may be suffering from an eating disorder, getting them into therapy can improve their outlook on body-image issues and help them regain control over their eating habits. To further encourage positive change, it is crucial that you, as a parent, attend and actively participate in some of the counseling sessions as well. Make sure you walk into counseling prepared. Here are 3 topics of discussion you should ponder about prior to walking into the office.
Your Attitudes About Food
While you may not necessarily have caused your child to develop body-image issues, off-hand comments or your attitude about food may have had a small impact. Before going into counseling, examine your own attitudes about food so that you can better help your child understand what your expectations are. Also, understanding your attitudes can help a counselor better determine whether there is anything you can do to help your child get through this difficult time in their life.
Think about how you feel about weight and body size. Do you make off-hand comments towards those who may be a bit larger than yourself? Or have you pressured your child to lose weight? It's important for you to also work on yourself and your attitudes if you want to help your child.
Your Perception of the Details Leading to the Disorder
More often than not, parents may notice little things that their children may not have. In fact, you might have a better understanding of the triggers responsible for your child's eating disorder. You should address what you've noticed with your child and their counselor; however, it's easy to overlook many of these details.
Sit down before the counseling session and think about when you noticed the eating disorder develop. See if you can link the disorder with any major event that has happened in your child's life or any other important details. Your insight can help your child better understand where their eating disorder is coming from. Make sure that you avoid placing shame, blame or even guilt when discussing these issues.
Your Hopes for the Future
Give a long, hard thought as to the type of changes you'd like to see and how you'd like to implement them. A counselor can help you develop a strategic plan for implementing these changes. Keep in mind that tackling an eating disorder is not as easy as it looks. It's not as simple as eating more or being less obsessed with calories and nutrition.
While it's important that your child attends individual counseling sessions for tackling their eating disorder, you're an important part of their recovery. If you attend some counseling sessions with your child, you could expedite their recovery and provide them with the additional support they need. For more information, contact a facility such as Living Hope Clinic.