Nutrition affects everything from appearance to the ability to learn. It's as simple as what keeps us alive yet it's also much more than that. With the amount of time we as moms spend worrying about our children's nutrition and food intake, we may think the importance of a healthy and balanced diet is already understood by our teens. In some ways it is understood - but it doesn't seem to prevent some adolescents from engaging in risky weight control behaviors.
Even youths who consider themselves "about the right weight" admit to engaging in behaviors such as fasting, vomiting or using laxatives in an effort to keep weight at a particular level or lose more weight. The problem is, of course, that this behavior can affect the appropriate balance of nutrients in a child's body at a time when proper nutrition is critical to still growing bones and brains. The risky behavior has possible long-term consequences as well as short-term ones; that nutrient deprivation at such a critical time can't be filled in later.
As with other issues, your almost grown child isn't grown yet and still needs your attention and guidance. Between their still-developing decision making ability and the sense of invincibility many teens evoke, kids need ongoing parental input into balancing nutrients with calories and staying appropriately physically active. Kids need to be reminded that healthy eating is a life-skill.
Changes in your child's behavior over food and eating can, as with other risky behaviors, signal more serious issues. Staying alert to your child's appearance, mood, and food intake - without becoming overbearing, of course - can help you help your child head off some of these risky behaviors. And as with other behaviors, modeling appropriate decision making and behaviors is a way to teach your child about balancing healthy eating - and healthy weight control.
While we as parents won't be able to prevent our children from engaging in any or all risky behaviors, we can continue to be aware and help them learn to make good decisions.
And you'll see personalized content just for you whenever you click the My Feed .
SheKnows is making some changes!