Taylor Townsend is the youngest U.S. Woman to advance to the third round at the French Open since 2003. It’s an impressive feat for an 18 year-old. And, especially so, given that the U.S. Tennis Association tried to keep her out of the U.S. Open just two years ago until she lost weight.
What we—what our culture does to girls (and to boys) is tragic. I am astounded to hear girls in my counseling office talk about coaches and teachers who make comments about their weight and weight restrictions still in place for a variety of sports. We are living in a weight-obsessed society. And we are living in a society where up to 24 million people of all ages and genders suffer from an eating disorder (according to the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders).
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We’re glad you joined us as we talk through eating disorders among kids today. This is an issue we feel passionate about. It is one of the most addictive struggles a child (or adult) can ever face and there is much you can do as a parent to help:
- What you model in your home in regard to food and body image is of the utmost importance. We tell parents often that your issues are often going to show up in the life of your child. If you struggle with your own body image or some type of eating disorder, get help—for your sake and theirs.
- Don’t make food an issue around your home. It is unhealthy to use food as a reward. But it is also unhealthy to focus on the fact that you are eating healthy all of the time. Eating disorders manifest themselves in a preoccupation with food and eating. Don’t further this by being preoccupied by food as a family. It is important to teach your child healthy eating, but not obsessive healthy eating... READ MORE
“I think the problem is that food and I just don’t get along.”
Her struggles with food started right around the age of 11. As a young girl, she was petite. She had the body of a little athlete…long legs, flat stomach and teeny muscles. But, then, as it does in the life of every girl, puberty reared its hormonal head. At 12, she felt like a different person. She worried about what other people thought. She felt insecure. And, much to her dismay, she believed that she looked “round”. Her stomach had taken on a new shape, her breasts, her bottom and even her legs were more curvy. And she hated it.
At 15, she sat in our counseling offices and pointed back to the age of 12 as the onset of a struggle with food that continued to plague her. “I used to hear all of the time how cute I was. And then it just stopped. No one said I was attractive…or little. No one said anything.” So, I thought, I must be fat... READ MORE Read More
Last week, we talked about the emotional world of teenage girls. Here are just a few of the statistics:
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse
- Illicit drug use has declined significantly since its peak years in 1996 and 1997
- Alcohol use among teenagers has also decreased since that time
- Alcohol, however, is still the most widely used drug among young people
- Marijuana and tobacco use have remained the same since that time
- The use of prescription drugs such as Ritalin, Vicodin and OxyContin have increased
- The use of inhalants has increased
From Anorexia Nervosa and Related Eating Disorders, Inc. (ANRED)
- The Journal of Abnormal Psychology reported that 14 to 39 percent of adolescents participate in some kind of self-harming behavior
- Eating disorders affect almost 5 percent of young women in America
- 1 percent of female adolescents are anorexic
- 1 to 3 percent of middle and high school girls are bulimic
- 15 percent of young women have unhealthy attitudes and behaviors about food
As we said before girls fall apart often from the outside in. They develop struggles such as eating disorders, self-mutilation, addictions to drugs and alcohol, and other issues as a way to numb—or control this newfound pain that feels so out of their control. Each of these issues warrants a different response, but each comes from the same source—an intense dislike, or self-hatred, of the girls themselves. How do we help, as adults who love them? READ MORE Read More