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Self-doubt and uncertainty can overwhelm teenager

Words from ‘with barbara’ by  Barbara Lustgarten-Evoy

Dear Barbara

Our daughter is 13 years old. It’s probably true that she’s a little overweight but I have never worried about it, as both my husband and I are a little heavy as well. She never seemed bothered by it before but suddenly she’s saying she is fat and that it’s our fault that she is and hardly eats anymore. She doesn’t go out and she never wants to do anything so it’s frustrating for us all.

Although we keep trying to tell her that she needs more exercise, we are worried because she is so angry that she won’t listen to reason. Should we just let it go for now and wait and see if it becomes a problem or this something we need to worry about?

Signed: A little nervous

Dear Nervous

Being angry and frustrated with our parent as as we enter the teen years is far from unheard of. The reason I chose your letter however, is that you mentioned that she is not eating much anymore as a result and that’s always a concern.

She is definitely at the age when self doubt and uncertainty are uppermost in her mind and her heart and many, many children begin to swim in a pool of insecurity at this age, but given that she entered in this time of her life with a slight weight issue, it is possible that this is what she has chosen to focus on and even to obsess over.

If she is already entering puberty it can be even harder as additional curves will start to show up where there were none before and she may believe that is yet another sign of weighing more than she would like. The issue is a tough one, as our society has determined what a young girl must look like and very few of our daughters fit into the mold.

Remember at this age she is still very much a child and as such is not as well equipped to deal with he frustration as you may hope. As a result she may be most confortable blaming you for her weight but try not to take it too personally.

I can’t stress enough that you should be sure you avoid fad diets and costly options at all costs. Try to be aware that, usually, a little more exercise and a little less sugar will make all the difference in the world. Perhaps think about taking her to her family doctor and having a check up to help her see that she is indeed healthy and that she needn’t be so hard on herself.

It may be a great idea too, as you indicated you and your husband struggle with weight as well, to visit a nutritionist and to work together towards an eating plan with health in mind. Any time a family works together towards a goal, it is always easier and more fun too.

Barbara Lustgarten-Evoy is the owner and operator of Fergus Educational Services and is the owner/author/presenter for all WithBarbara Seminars and Lectures. To ask a question or for more information, please visit www.withbarbara.ca or email info@withbarbara.ca

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