Teenagers go through years of growth spurts, hormone shifts, and body adjustments. This can create a major fluctuation in weight, and for some teens, that’s a big blow to their self-esteem. As a parent, there are some things you can do to help your child during this difficult time. Here are a few tips for how to help a teen after unexpected weight gain.
Healthy Weight Gain Vs. Unhealthy Weight Gain
Before we get started, we need to point out the difference between healthy weight gain and unhealthy weight gain. If your child has always been extremely thin and is now filling out, that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Women in particular go through weight fluctuations as their bodies take shape, and there is nothing wrong with that. The focus here is on teens who gain a large, unhealthy amount of weight in a short period of time (often the result of eating junk food in combination with hormone shifts).
Comfort Your Child During Moments Of Low Self-Esteem
Your teenager may become extremely self-conscious after gaining weight. Peer pressure and bullying at school will not help this, but your teen may feel self-conscious all on his or her own. If your teen is willing to talk to you about it, listen, and comfort the best you can. Give unprompted compliments from time to time. “Oh wow, that shirt looks great on you!”
If your child is in teen counseling, you can use that as an opportunity to talk about self-esteem issues. Your counselor will give you tools to help your teen during this time, including self-esteem building, self-harm prevention, eating disorder prevention, and more. If you do not work with a teen counselor at the moment, we would be happy to set up and appointment for you. Contact Perspectives Of Troy Counseling Centers in Michigan to learn more.
Encourage Healthy Eating In A Subtle Way
If you normally eat dinner together as a family, try to plan those meals around healthy foods. Chances are your teenager eats junk food throughout the day, both at home and at school. You may not be able to control all of that, but you can have a say in what you eat as a family. Slowly work in more fruits, vegetables, and lean proteins in your diet to improve your family’s health as a whole. As your teen develops a taste for these foods, chips, and candy will become less appealing.
Be Confident About Your Own Body
Teenagers pick up on what other people think is the “right” body shape. That group of “people” includes you. If you are constantly saying negative things about your body, you are sending a bad message to your teen. Be confident about who you are and how you look, and your children will follow suit.
If you personally are having issues with self-confidence and low self-esteem, feel free to talk to one of our counselors in Michigan. We have depression counselors and body dysmorphia specialists that can help you turn your thoughts completely around. Give us a call to schedule a confidential appointment.