Primarily we have heard about female teens and their eating disorders. In recent years, eating disorders in male teens have come to forefront as something that happens more than we thought was possible. Although male and female eating disorders manifest in different ways, the feelings that are behind the eating disorders, regardless of gender, are pretty much standard across the board with the thinking of not being good enough amongst their peers, not seeing a beautiful person standing in the mirror, or needing to implement a form of control in an unmanageable period of their life. With male eating disorders, they often materialize from seeing other men with bulging muscles or a toned physique and have a desire to achieve the same look. Once boys decide that they need to lose weight, they will make diet changes and use excessive exercise to try to accomplish the ideal body. Misleading social pressure is usually the culprit that causes the eating disorder to begin even though what typically results is an unhealthy body image and low self-esteem. Our sons need us to guide them through something so difficult, although the conversation may be an uncomfortable one.
Start a conversation
Talking to your son may seem like an arduous task because you may not even know where to begin the conversation. Start at the beginning of the timeline with the eating disorder and say something like, “I am worried about your health.” By using something you are feeling, you can keep the blame from arising with a teen who will probably be embarrassed that they got caught hiding their deepest, darkest secret.
Keep your cool
No matter how worried you are or how close to death you perceive them to be, the way in which you relay your message of help and hope will set the tone of the conversation. Maintain a calm demeanor and if they yell or scream at you, just remember people that are hurting will try to hurt others with their pain.
Listen to them with intention
Your teen may be resistant to telling you about their problems, but if you give them the floor and auscultate their words, you can get a better feel of their emotionality without having to talk over their feelings or demand that they take action. There will be time later to give suggestions on what they should do to get help after you assess the whole situation at face value. Once you better understand what your teen is going through, you can find resources such as Teens Health or The Healthy Teen Project to get some ideas on handle your personal situation. The best solution for your son’s eating disorder is to be supportive rather than dismissive so that you can direct them in the right manner.
Stonewater Adolescent Recovery Center provides a clinically structured protocol with withdrawal management that is designed to specifically accommodate the needs of teenagers. We first help to remove the toxic chemicals out of the body and then move onto the treatment of the whole person.
Call us today to start living in recovery: 662-598-4214