Teenage years are the period where children undergo a process of growth, a search for acceptance and a phase of awareness and physical consciousness. As parents we approach this situation as a ‘rebellion’, while in fact it is a crisis stage for them, which bridges the gap of adulthood and childhood. One of the most common problems at this age is the beginning or worsening of weight loss problems.
A lot of teenagers are very particular with their weight and some may even follow extreme measures to handle the problem. It is our job as parents to guide them and help them understand how to cope with this problem. The following tips can give you some ideas.
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The fact is that almost 25% of adolescents are already overweight or obese. The first thing to do is to assess and analyze their situation. Are they gaining weight too fast? Have they mentioned any concerns about their appearance? Have they been sad lately with their weight? You can absolutely confront them if you strongly believe that they are having these issues and work together to reverse the situation. Be approachable and maintain an open line of communication as well.
Let them see that a lot of factors affect their weight; puberty may be one, also genes and body structure. Explain to them that they can reverse the situation by taking control of what they eat and what activities they do. The best advice you could give them is to let them understand how their existing lifestyle and eating habits impacts their weight. Today they usually eat fast food products, like French fries, sodas, chips and sweets and they spend their time on Facebook and PS3 which all contribute negatively to their weight.
As a parent you need to show the way. You are a model for them and if you want to convince them about the importance of healthy eating you need to lead by example. You can start by adding some healthy foods in the table and by preparing their school meals at home instead of buying the food of the cafeteria. Your goal is to make them eat less of those unhealthy foods which are full of fats and sugars. Encourage as well healthy activities, like jogs and walks or sports. Giving your family a weekend for hiking and camping is a good example.
Supporting them in all means as possible, you can try to be there when they want to have a game of tennis, or basketball. Encourage them to reach their goals, and be always there to back them up. You can even help them plan out their strategies and write down goals for their weight loss. Your objective is not to load them with targets and restrictions but to give them a hand when they are in trouble.
Make them feel accepted and cared for
This is basically the most important tip of all. You should be able to accept your teenager as who they are and show it to them. If you notice that they are having issues with weight or if they are dieting excessively, then you should take appropriate actions. One action could be telling them that they look good, and telling them how much you care about them and that you will help them deal with the issue together. Let them open up to you, by confronting them and encouraging them to discuss their problems. Studies have shown that one important factor in weight control is a strong sense of self-esteem and you should try and make them feel that way.
More Teenage Parenting Help:
Ask Kelli: Parenting Teens, Who is the Parent Here?
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It will be a fulfilling experience once you get to help your teenagers with such concerns. It can even establish a good friendship and bond between both of you. If you deal these issues together as a family, the benefits are much more than weight loss.