It’s become quite common to hear about the young girl worried about getting fat, so she ends up with an eating disorder. Then there are the boys who can’t run, play sports, and are bullied by their peers because of their weight. These are just two examples of the unhealthy extremes in our culture today regarding food, weight, and self esteem.
Let’s examine this relationship, provide several scenarios, and hopefully get the answer to the question: Is your child overeating?
“He’s Just A Growing Boy”
A child who is athletic and always “on the go” can seem to have non-stop energy and a boundless appetite. They don’t seem to gain a pound. It is probably because they are burning off all the calories they consume with their busy life.
Is this child overeating? Most professionals would say no, unless they are starting to need new clothes all the time because they are bulging out of them at the chest, waist, and behind. If they need new clothes because they are growing taller, then you were right the first time; he’s just a growing boy, (or girl).
The “More, More, More” Generation
Some children do everything to excess, and many kids today expect to get pretty much everything they want. Whether it’s the latest IPhone or another piece of pie, sometimes parents have to say no.
Regulated discipline is necessary to teach kids they won’t get everything, and there is a time to STOP. That includes consistently over indulging in food. The younger a child learns this, the easier it will be for them to gain self-discipline. As they grow, knowing when to stop will help with eating, drinking, money, and many other challenges in life.
Eating And The Media
Even parents find it hard to resist enticements in the media. Like “bet you can’t eat just one,” of those crunchy salty snacks. Be the example you want your kids to learn and only eat a small, healthy portion. Explain that of course it’s easy to be tempted, but there’s a stomach ache coming if you eat too many.
If their snacking turns into one stomach ache after the other then yes, they are overeating.
The Sad Eater
Perhaps your mother offered you treats galore when you were down in the dumps. While sadness and indulgence seem to go hand in hand, it’s really not a great idea. In fact, many overweight adults grew up that way, creating long lasting issues.
Food is for nourishment, not a panacea for whatever may be troubling your child or teen, so it’s best not to encourage that. Like the chicken and egg, are they overeating because they are sad and depressed, or did they become sad because they overate?
There are staggering statistics about young folks committing suicide. Many are bullied because of their weight or looks. As parents and teachers we must be aware of those kids and steer them on a path to healthy eating and improved self esteem.
Above all, it’s important to offer your child with healthy solutions, and help them when facing any extremes that may affect their well being. If you are uncertain if your child is overeating, schedule an appointment at Bethany Pediatrics.