Being a healthy body weight is important in growing up as a confident and happy individual, free from health concerns. However, approaching your child about their weight can be challenging. Children and teenagers are constantly undergoing physical changes as a part of normal development, and therefore it can be difficult to know whether being overweight or underweight is a phase that they will grow out of, or whether their weight is something that should be addressed.
You may be questioning whether you are worrying about nothing, and whether making their weight a concern will be detrimental to their self-esteems. These concerns are normal, however, if you are concerned about your child’s weight it is important to these concerns and seek advice – this does not necessarily mean having to involve your child straight away.
You may be concerned that your child is overweight or underweight, and that this is putting their health may be at risk. They may also have low physical activity levels or unhealthy eating habits, such as only eating unhealthy foods, binge eating, refusing to eat, or eating late at night. It is also extremely important for children to develop a healthy relationship with food early in life, as this is a protective factor against weight concerns later in life.
Other unhealthy signs related to your child’s weight or eating habits may include:
Your child may also be a relatively healthy weight, but you are concerned about the relationship that they have with food. As children grow up and enter their teenage and adult years, they are particularly vulnerable to society’s pressure to look a particular way. Therefore, they may be engaging in excessive dieting or exercise, or lacking in self-esteem which is consequently impacting the way they approach food and eating.
It is normal for this to be very difficult to discuss this with your child without them getting offended or defensive, and shutting down the conversation. You have probably heard many times that they’re fine and that you are just overreacting. You may also be feeling unsure as to how to approach them and what to do to ensure that they are on the right path. If you can relate to this, then it can greatly help to have the support of a professional. The practitioners at VCPS can guide you to better support your child, or help your child build a better relationship with food for the long term.
The VCPS practitioners who specialise in weight management can support you and your child by: