If you think your child is having difficulties with food or eating, it is important to seek help at an early stage. It can be hard for parents to know if a young person has an eating problem or disorder, you may notice a change in their attitude or behaviour towards food or their body image. For example, they are regularly skipping meals, obsessively counting calories, eating only low calorie food, obsessed with exercise, disappearing from the table directly after meals (in order to make themselves vomit), saying they are unhappy with their body.
Family and friends can do a lot to support a young person who is struggling. Take time to talk with them, sometimes it’s easier when you are walking somewhere or in the car. If they don’t want to talk to you or a trusted family member or friend, then they may find it easier to talk to a teacher or your GP.
There is local support available to support both your child and you as a parent. We have listed the specialist organisations in the box below. There are also Barking & Dagenham Council services, but you will generally need to be referred by a professional.
YoungMinds Parents’ Helpline offers information and advice to any adult worried about the emotional problems, behaviour or mental health of a young person up to the age of 25.