What Causes Emotional Eating In Teenagers. Dr. Rutherford Tracks It Back To Self Esteem:
HOW CAN I HELP MY DAUGHTER STOP EMOTIONAL EATING WITHOUT MAKING IT WORSE?
MOLLY: This came from a reader from California. She added that her daughter is a teenager and when she brings it up for conversation it seems to make things worse.
Dr. Susan Rutherford (MOM): This can be a very difficult area to address.
What I would probably do first is talk to the child about what’s going on emotionally in her life without connecting it to the eating because usually kids can get quite defensive about behaviors like this. This is a time to tread carefully. I would try to assess what might be going on in the child’s life that is distressing for her and driving her to seek solace in food.
MOLLY: Should she take her kid to see a therapist?
MOM: Well, it depends if her parents can help her reduce her stress with some coping strategies so that she naturally becomes less dependent on food to feel better about herself. If the root is low self-esteem, finding ways to improve her self-image will help. If it’s severe enough that there’s a significant weight gain or weight loss, or if the child begins to hurt herself by cutting on herself –those things often go together– then absolutely the child should see someone.
MOLLY: What could be the long-term consequences?
MOM: Well, it’s hard to predict. What we don’t know is.....
Molly Skyar and Dr. Rutherford are behind the blog “Conversations With My Mother”: a blog about raising kids and how our parenting decisions now can have long term effects.
Dr. Rutherford is a Clinical Psychologist in practice for over 30 years. She has degrees from Duke University, New York University (NYU), and the University of Denver.
Molly is Dr. Rutherford's younger daughter and the mother of two children under six.