Weight issues can be a difficult subject to discuss.
In my practice, I often see pre-teens and teens who are very sensitive about their weight. In fact, some even cry at the mention of the word “weight” and refuse to look at the scale. Weight issues often go hand in hand with self-esteem, and as a developing adolescent, it’s hard enough to navigate life’s changes, much less if they are having a hard time accepting themselves and their body.
If your child feels that they have an issue with their weight, how do you talk to them about it in a sensitive way, without hurting their feelings?
Above all, remember that shaming them, bullying them, or scaring them WILL NOT help them lose weight. There is a better chance that these tactics will stress them out, which is more likely to make them turn to food as a solution to their stress.
It is important to remember that Obesity is a disease. Think about it this way- if your child had asthma or an ear infection, would you blame them? Of course not! You would help them. That is how you should think of Obesity or issues with weight.
So how do you talk to them about it?
You can start by asking them the following questions:
“How are you feeling right now?”
“How are you feeling when you are eating?”
“Is anyone bothering or bullying you about your weight in school?”
*If they are being teased at school, be sure to address this with administration right away*
And finally, if they are having issues:
“Would you like to see someone to help you with this issue you are struggling with?”
After you ask them these questions and determine that they would like to seek professional help, you must find the right provider. Here are a few options to consider:
- If you think they need guidance on food choices, you could start by speaking to a dietician or nutritionist.
- If you think it may be something else, you could speak to their pediatrician (if they are knowledgeable in this area).
- If you think this is not your pediatrician’s strong suit, you can bring your teen or pre-teen here to the Wellness Center at Progressive Pediatrics. It is our goal to help your child make the small changes they need to every day to feel good, inside, and outside!
No matter what course of action you and your child decide to take, please remind them that they are NOT a number on a scale, they are NOT a failure, and weight issues are NOT personality flaws.
If your teen or pre-teen is ready to seek help from a professional, please visit our website: https://progressivepediatrics.com/wellness/call or email us to make a wellness center appointment today!
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