Such is when the male jumps into the photo instead of the mother

Such is when the male jumps into the photo instead of the mother

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About unhealthy weight, overweight and obesity in teenagers

A person is overweight if that person is above their healthiest weight and has too much body fat. Obesity is a more severe form of overweight.

Teenagers can be at risk of unhealthy weight gain, overweight and obesity. This is because teenagers tend to:

  • do less physical activity
  • do more activities that involve sitting down, like using screens and socialising
  • eat less healthy food and more high-fat and high-sugar foods.

As a parent, you know your child best. It's normal to worry about your child's weight if you think she's making unhealthy food choices and not getting enough physical activity each day.

Your GP will be able to say for sure whether your child is an unhealthy weight. The GP might discuss your child's body mass index (BMI), which measures your child's height and weight.

If you're worried about your child's weight, you're not alone. The 2017-2018 Australian Health Survey found that a quarter of Australian children - over 1 million children - were overweight or obese.

Professional help for teenage overweight and obesity

If your child has a weight problem, your GP or an accredited practising dietitian can help.

An advantage of seeing a GP or dietitian is that your child might see this health professional's advice as more neutral than yours.

Health professionals can help teenagers who are overweight achieve healthy weight by focusing on behaviour and lifestyle. This is likely to involve helping your child and family establish long-term healthy lifestyle choices, and avoid disordered eating.

A health professional might recommend a weight maintenance program for a young person who still has some 'height growing' to do. This means that if the child's weight stays the same while the child gets taller, he might be able to 'grow into' his weight.

For young people who are already as tall as they're going to get, overweight needs to be managed with gradual and healthy weight loss.

In extreme cases of obesity, a health professional might look at options like medications or even surgery. Specialist weight management services should supervise these options.

Family strategies to help teenagers with overweight issues

If your GP or another health professional says your child has a weight problem, there's a lot you can do as a family to help your child get back to a healthy weight.

A good place to start is with your family lifestyle. When your whole family eats well and gets enough daily physical activity, you set a good example for your child. This is also a great way of supporting and encouraging her.

Here are some practical things to look at in your family lifestyle.

Healthy food and snacks
If you fill your cupboard and fridge with nutritious snacks and meals, your child can choose from lots of healthy options if he's hungry.

You can also guide your child towards healthy food choices by getting rid of unhealthy food like chips, biscuits, lollies and sugary drinks from your home. This means your child won't be able to just grab a chocolate bar, and you won't have to be the 'food police' all the time.

A healthy breakfast every day is especially important. A healthy breakfast keeps your child feeling fuller for longer, so she'll be less likely to snack on sugary or fatty foods during the day.

Eating a healthy family meal together most days also encourages your child to eat well.

Screen time balance
It's important to make sure that your child has a healthy balance of screen time and other activities, including physical activity.

Daily physical activity
Australian guidelines recommend children aged 5-18 years have at least 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity every day.

If you can make time for physical activities as a family, it's a great way to get your child moving. For example, you could try bushwalking or playing backyard cricket together, or if you're travelling somewhere, you could choose to walk or ride bikes instead of taking the car.

Helping your child to make healthy eating and physical activity choices in his teens will help him avoid unhealthy weight gain. Healthy choices now can get your child in the habit of making healthy choices in the future.

Talking with teenagers about weight and overweight issues

If there's a problem with your child's weight, your child needs your help to improve her weight and health.

But it's not always easy to talk with teenagers about weight. Many young people are self-conscious about their weight, and feel bad about themselves because of it. They might even get teased or bullied because of their weight.

So sensitivity and care are important when talking about weight issues with your child.

If you're worried that discussing weight with your child will create an eating disorder, it might help to know that the risk is very small if you discuss these issues sensitively.

Pick your moment and be ready to listen
Talking about weight might be a difficult conversation. The conversation will probably go better at a time when you're both relaxed and calm. And actively listening is likely to help too. This means really paying attention to what your child is saying and showing that you understand his point of view.

Be honest, but careful
Be honest and clear about your child's weight and the need to make healthy changes. The more your child understands, the more likely she'll be to make and stick to healthy changes. For example, 'I've noticed that you haven't been getting a lot of exercise lately. I think you might be getting to a weight that's not healthy for you. But I'm no expert! How would you feel about talking to the GP?'

Choose your language carefully. Most people find that terms like 'obese' are negative, hurtful and unhelpful. Terms like 'higher weight' or 'above your healthiest weight' keep the focus on health, not body image.

Avoid talk about 'dieting'
Restricted eating and kilojoule counting isn't a strategy for developing long-term healthy eating habits. For some teenagers, dieting can even be a risk factor for eating disorders. So try to talk with your child about eating in a healthy way rather than about starting a diet.

When teenagers feel good about their bodies, they're more likely to have good self-esteem and mental health, as well as balanced attitudes to eating and physical activity. You can read more about the relationship between health and body image.

How to deal with children who do nothing or accept their obligations

"We have tried everything, but the child does not change. He does not want to study, nor does he collaborate at home and does not pay attention to us", this is one of the problems for which some parents may go to the consultation of a psychologist to help them with his son.

When we talk about children who do nothingWe are not talking about a situation that occurs overnight, suddenly. It is something that is gradually taking shape, slowly but clearly. Parents often say that it doesn't matter what they do with their children; if they are punished, it doesn't work - it seems that they don't care about everything - but neither can they reward them all the time because then they only pay attention if they buy things from them. These situations also tend to generate discomfort at home, tensions and arguments with the children.

In the case of children who do not accept their obligations, it is necessary to analyze in depth when the problem occurs as well as what guidelines, norms and limits we have established at home or if there is any reason that may be justifying this situation, etc. On the other hand also the age of the children must be taken into account, since a teenager is not the same as a 6-year-old child.

In many cases, we are faced with parents who apply ineffective guidelines at home. These have to be redirected so that things do not get worse. It is very important that from a young age they acquire adequate habits, in the study, at home and behavior. Since they are children, and especially when they have autonomy to do things alone, it is essential that they acquire responsibilities while we create routines and habits in your day to day based on certain rules and certain limits.

Establishing obligations at home is essential:That they are responsible for their room, for setting and clearing the table or making their bed, and as long as they have completed those tasks they can go out, play, have their mobile etc.

The habits that we establish from childhood are going to be key in the way in which children develop as adults. If we give them everything, if we do not set limits or if we give in to their desires out of fear perhaps of their tantrums or for not making them suffer, we are giving rise to a situation that will be more difficult to change when they are older. If they acquire good habits as children, it will be easier for them to maintain them when they grow up and it will cost us less to acquire others as they mature.

Regarding rules and limits, it must be remembered that it is essential that they are firm and clear and that they are always followed. If we tell the child that if he does not set the table, he will not be able to watch TV after dinner, but he finally sees it, because he has cleared the table, we are teaching him that the rules are flexible, they are not clear and cannot be predicted , so it will be difficult to comply, that is, to obey.

When we are therefore in such a situation, it will be important review the guidelines and norms at home, share them among adults and restore "order" in the home. For this we can count on the children, make them participate in the changes that are going to take place and make clear what are the reinforcements that are going to be given from now on (positive and negative consequences). That is, we must make it clear to our children what we expect of them and that we value certain behaviors positively (not only negatively when they do not).

You have to establish certain routines in them, and make it easier for them to take responsibility for their tasks. This means that if certain things are not done by them, we will not do them ourselves.

But as we said before, these attitudes are acquired from a young age. We must promote the development of appropriate habits and the internalization of certain rules and limits, as well as adequately satisfy their emotional and psychological needs.

In those situations that are certainly alarming and in which we parents do not know how to act, it may be appropriate to consult a specialist to help the child and parents to acquire certain personal skills that help to improve the situation.

You can read more articles similar to How to deal with children who do nothing or accept their obligations, in the category of Conduct on site.

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  • A chivalrous name for your little boy. Derived from the Germanic word "amal" which designated the members of the large family of Amales, from which came many kings goths and Visigoths. It is celebrated on January 15th or September 22nd.

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