Eating disorders can range from overeating to undereating, and each one poses different and severe risks to your body.
When you add an eating disorder on to the small and still developing bodies or young adults, the situation can escalate quickly and get out of hand.
Knowing that your child has an eating disorder may not be obvious to some parents, as most kids today are smart enough to hide their disorders. Luckily, there are a few ways that you can tell on your own.
1. Your child isn’t eating
If you notice that your child is hardly eating anything, it’s a sign that they may have an eating disorder.
If your child starts leaving their breakfast on the table, coming home with a full lunch, and not eating anything at dinner, it’s a sign that something is wrong, and you need to have a conversation with your child.
2. Your child is binge eating
Have you noticed that your child is scarfing down all of her food in a matter of minutes but then spends a long time in the bathroom shortly thereafter? This could be a sign of bulimia.
With bulimia, children tend to consume a lot of food and then go and throw the food up.
Some children think that bulimia is a better way to outsmart parents and other adults because they’re still eating, they’re just heading to the bathroom to throw it all up.
3. Your child plays with their food
One thing that children learn to do is to push food around on their plate so that it looks like it’s been eaten when it actually wasn’t.
If you notice that your child is spending more time playing with their food than actually eating it, they could be suffering with their weight.
4. Your child loses weight
Children are going to fluctuate in weight, but if you notice that your child has significantly lost weight over the past few months, you may want to talk to them about eating disorders.
Nobody should drop noticeable sizes in clothing too quickly.
5. Your child is wearing bigger clothes
Some children have poor self image, so they hide their bodies from others by wearing clothes that are too big.
Children suffering from eating disorders may also try to cover up their weight loss by wearing clothes that are too big.
6. Your child starts exercising compulsively
If your child suddenly becomes over-interested in exercising, it could be a sign that they’re trying to lose weight due to an eating disorder.
Most children suffering from a disorder will try to work off the calories from the food or drinks they intake by exercising them away.
If your child starts to workout before and after school for multiple hours at a time, it’s a sign that something is wrong.
7. Your child has negative views when it comes to weight
If your child makes mention of them being overweight or fat when they’re not, this can be a sign of a disorder. It’s also important to pay attention to how they describe others.
If the size of a person is always mentioned when your child talks about someone, or if they talk about how “fat” a very skinny celebrity is, your child could be suffering from a disorder.
8. Your daughter has missed consecutive periods
When a woman (or girl) is underweight, she could end up missing her period. If you notice that your once regular daughter has gone months without a period, it’s a sign that she is underweight, which could be the result of an eating disorder.
Disorders like anorexia and bulimia are very serious and can have severe—and sometimes fatal—consequences. It’s very important that you have conversations with your child about being healthy and teach them to make smart choices.
If you notice that your child is showing signs of an eating disorder, it’s very important that you seek them the proper help right away.